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PICTORIAL ART 



TYR WHITT 





OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS "WAREHOUSE 
7 PATERNOSTER ROW 



ClartnDon $rrss Series 



A HANDBOOK OF 

PICTORIAL ART 



BY THE 



. 
REV. R.^ST. JOHN TYRWHITT, M.A. 

FORMERLY STUDENT AND TUTOR OF CHRIST CHURCH 



WITH A CHAPTER ON PERSPECTIVE 
BY A. MACDONALD 

SCHOOL OF ART, OXFORD 



Second Edition 



AT THE CLARENDON PRESS 

M DCCC LXXV 
[All rights reserved '] 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. 



IT seems unlikely that any one will expect much original 
information in a practical treatise on Art, nor have I 
much to offer ; though I trust some fresh information and 
instruction may be found here and there in this Manual. 
The main object of this Preface is to render acknowledg- 
ment to the various gentlemen by whom I have been 
assisted, either personally or through written works. 

Mr. Ruskin's works are referred to, or quoted, or they 
have suggested my statements, almost throughout the book. 
I owe everything to his writings and personal advice and 
teaching; and I believe his Art instructions form a consi- 
derable part of the mental stock-in-trade of most competent 
painters or critics in our generation. 

I have to thank Messrs. Smith and Elder for their kind- 
ness in allowing me to make lavish use of his books, and 
even for supplying me with electro-blocks of some quite 
unique woodcuts ; and I cannot thank them too strongly. 

The work of Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle has also been 
laid largely under contribution ; it is probable that its authors 
were aware in publishing it, that its value as a book of 
reference would necessarily subject it to extensive quotation. 
At all events, I have left masses of interesting information 
behind in it untouched ; and it is a good result of my 
own work to myself that I have had to read theirs. 

But I have to acknowledge that this book could not have 



vi PREFACE TO 

appeared at all but for the assistance of Mr. Alexander 
Macdonald, Master of the Oxford Art School in the Ran- 
dolph Gallery, Oxford. Its practical part is of course its 
most important division, and of that, the chapter on Per- 
spective and the greatest part of that on Water-colour are 
both his. The substance of the first two chapters is derived 
in great part from his instructions. I have read the whole 
book to him, and taken his advice on it ; and his favour- 
able opinion makes me feel an amount of confidence, in 
putting it forth, which I should certainly be very far from 
expressing without his approval. We hope the book may 
be found a progressive and coherent system of instruction, 
in which one step may lead properly into another, and the 
earlier processes or exercises be a consistent preparation 
for the later and more elaborate ones. The Dissections of 
Statues, and the Water-colour Landscape in three stages, 
are Mr. Macdonald's work. Instruction by such means is 
no new idea ; but, I think, in both our examples imper- 
sonal teaching is carried almost to the bounds of present 
possibility. 

The plan of the whole work, in so far as it has a plan, 
will be seen to follow the schools or masters of Florence. 
The Historical Sketches, and their reference, will take the 
reader as far as the student-works and sketches of Rafael 
and Michael Angelo : and it seems possible that a steady 
wse of the Lessons in Part II. may enable a modern pupil 
to study such earlier and unfinished works of both masters 
as are to be found in University or Metropolitan collections. 
Copying finished pictures by great men is work for masters 
rather than pupils : in any case it is beyond our range. 
One of the best sets of accurate reproductions of Rafael 
Drawings is the work of Joseph Fisher, Esq., Curator of 
the Randolph Galleries in Oxford ; whom I have also to 
thank for some instructions in etching, which have been 
added to the chapter on Sketching in this book. 



THE FIRST EDITION. vii 

Though Venice contains the greatest examples of 
Colour in the world, Florence is the great school of 
Drawing. Solid study of accurate form must come first, 
because it can be taught to any person : and when that is 
learnt may come the delight and excitement of colour ; 
power in which is incommunicable, and which, taken by 
itself, would be mere intoxication. It is in Florence that 
the first Renaissance of Gothic, or Lombard, or Western 
Painting and Sculpture took place, beginning with Nicolo 
Pisano's study of ancient or Attic-Greek models, and of 
Nature in the Ancient-Greek way, as distinguished from 
the Byzantine or Latter-Greek school. The recovered an- 
tiques of trie Renaissance, from the thirteenth to the 
fifteenth centuries, were instructive models, which inspired 
but never dominated the spirit or the hand of the great 
Florentines ; though Michael Angelo willingly called the 
Torso of the Vatican his master. The progress of sys- 
tematic study from Pisano to Michael Angelo is easily 
traceable in Florence ; and there only : though a master 
may gain I know not what by contemplating the supreme 
glories of colour and form in Venice. The clearness and 
heat, the labour and burden of the day must go before 
the splendour and pensiveness of sunset, although that hour 
seems worth all the others to a painter ; and so it is with 
the great Gothic Art period of the Middle Ages. Its 
progress in Florence must be understood before its con- 
summation on the Adriatic. 

This book has been written in fragments and at uncer- 
tain intervals, such as I could obtain, having the care of 
a large town parish ; but it has passed under able in- 
spection. I do not know how many and various methods, 
in oil and water-colour, may be said to be preferable to the 
course herein suggested ; but I feel sure that he who goes 
through it fairly will have little to unlearn or retrace, and 
will be far enough advanced in the end to take his own 



viii PREFACE TO 

line, and to modify or relinquish our rules in his own way. 
The book will then have answered its purpose to him, and 
made itself useless, as such works ought to do. 

The progress of English water-colour painting has been 
very great within the last twenty years, and great changes 
have attended it. So much white is now mixed with dis- 
tance-tints, and so much transparent medium with nearer 
colours, that many so-called water-colour drawings are, in 
fact, pictures in tempera. No doubt they are often very 
beautiful. Still, I think we are right in telling the student 
to use transparent tints for his first studies in colour and 
sketches from Nature. The use of solid water-colours, and 
all the processes of 'painting up' a drawing with them, 
are perhaps best learnt by practice in oils. Something 
will be found in our short chapter on Tempera and 
Fresco, as to the combination of oil-colours with other 
media. 

I do not think, as a rule, systematic drawing is to be 
enforced before the age of thirteen or fourteen, unless in 
cases where natural intelligence and feeling produce, as 
they should, enough energy and docility in the pupil to 
make him really aim at correctness. At first, let all 
children be encouraged to draw all things, and paint them 
after their fashion : they may try whatever they like. I 
have found that soldiers and cherries are on the whole 
very favourite beginnings for infant Art, partly from asso- 
ciation and patriotism, and chiefly because both subjects 
involve the use of red pigments. Early works by our 
young masters should be moderately commended, and 
corrected as to 'keeping within lines:' but too much ought 
not to be said about them. Children's progress will be 
almost a certainty if a parent, governess, elder brother or 
sister will draw things in pencil outline for them, and en- 
courage them to imitate, and any wish to do things better 
should be met at once by regular instruction. Much is 



THE FIRST EDITION. rx 

done whenever the faintest feeling of self-expression by 
drawing is moved in a child : he comes under the influence 
of the spirit of observation and imitation from that day 
forward, and a source of originality and vigorous inner life 
is opened for him. 

Many of us could say much of the strange comfort which 
Art affords all who recognise their own spiritual life ; and 
I do not see why it should not be made an important 
means of promoting that sweetness and culture, which has 
been of late so eloquently commended to us. 

The introductory chapters of this book were written 
before the opening of the late French Exhibition 1 . They 
ought, I think, to have contained some attempts at an- 
swering the inevitable question about profits. It is no use 
recommending Art as a pursuit in this country unless one 
can hold out some kind of promise that it will pay : and 
though it is difficult to do so to the individual artist, the 
great trade-exhibition of this year enables us to make out 
a serious case in favour of popular study, even of the 
higher branches of Drawing and Colour. It has been at 
least very generally asserted, and it has never been denied, 
that in all constructive and ornamental trades, French and. 
other continental workmen have great advantage over our 
own artisans, from their skill in design, acquired through 
public Art-education. If they have, and keep this ad- 
vantage, it must tell : that is to say, trade, work, and 
bread must go away from England to France and Ger- 
many ; not to return until English design shall rival or 
excel French and German design. Now it has been re- 
peatedly pointed out, especially by Mr. Ruskin in his 
lecture at Bradford, March 1859 ('The Two Paths,' p. 90), 
that all the best decorative design which has hitherto 
existed has been that of men well trained in the highest 
known forms of Drawing, and skilled in delineating the 

1 Of 1867. 



x PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. 

human figure and animal forms of all kinds. He also 
shews the almost-impossibility of beautiful decoration to 
men who are unaccustomed to the sight of beauty, artistic 
or natural. Therefore, when we recommend means of 
popular instruction in high Art, so called, i.e. when we 
suggest that good teaching in drawing from nature should 
be put within the artisan's reach, we recommend the best 
means of giving the artisan true power of design. Without 
saying anything of general culture, or education and de- 
velopment, it is clear that good original design pays, and 
is good for trade : and it is certain that you cannot have 
it without high training in correct drawing, in the first 
place ; nor in the second, without giving the artisan free 
access to pictures and statues of real merit, and, where it 
is possible, to the sight of natural beauty. Born painters 
of the stamp of Turner and Blake will find both, some- 
how, for themselves ; but for the sake of those who are not 
sons of the giants, open workmen's galleries and schools, and 
large wall-paintings, rapid but true in execution, are very much 
wanted in all our large towns. I daresay good primary 
schools are wanted still more. But the teaching above 
mentioned need not clash with them ; it need not begin, 
except in special instances, till the age when workmen's 
sons have left their schools. The sight of good colour 
and form will be better understood by men than boys. 
Parisian workmen may be seen sketching the statues of 
the Place de la Concorde : and we may depend upon it, 
that as soon as the skilled artisan has easy access to 
pictures rightly drawn and coloured, he will know how 
to get hints from them in designing furniture-patterns 
or carving capitals. The fact is, a great and remunerative 
means of popular culture has long been, so to speak, loose 
among us, and praying to be used for the benefit of the 
people ; and it will be wise to leave it no longer unem- 
ployed. 

CHRIST CHURCH, April, 1868. 



, PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 

THE present issue of Pictorial Art contains some additions 
and alterations ; and it is hoped that the Illustrations 
will be found a considerable improvement on those of its 
predecessor. 

As has been said often enough, this book is an attempt at 
a readable introduction to the study of Art, beginning with 
Landscape, as the branch most likely to be pursued in this 
country from free choice and affection for the subject. There 
is no reason for insisting on any other principle for the pursuit 
of Art, as the commercial motives are sure to be fully under- 
stood and appreciated. 

Without comment on the prevailing taste for French land- 
scape, it may be said that the English Realist and Naturalist 
School will develope the powers and reward the efforts of any 
faithful student ; and that if such a person desires to proceed 
from landscape to historical painting, the present work will 
help him as far as it goes. 

This Second Edition is re-published with the approval of 
the Slade Professor at Oxford. It can by no means antici- 
pate, and it may help to prepare a way for his own promised 
Introduction to Art, which will not, as I trust, be long delayed. 

This book has been for some years in use as a Prize and 
Text Book by the Department of Science and Art at South 
Kensington. 

CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD, 
November 1st, 1874. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



THIRD STAGE OF WATER-COLOUR LANDSCAPE Frontispiece, see p. 193 
BYZANTINE LION . . . . . * - . 48 

PRANKISH WARRIOR . . . . . . . . 49 

LOMBARD-GOTHIC GROTESQUE WARRIOR . . . . 49 

COCK, OF REALIST CHARACTER ...... 49 

ANGEL FROM PSALTER OF EIGHTH CENTURY . . . . 50 

SERPENT BEGUILING EVE 51 

DURER WOODCUT . 135 

MER DE GLACE . . . . , . . . 137 

GLACIER-BLOCK, Photograph and Outline . : . . 139 

CURVES, Figures 1-5 148-152 

POMEGRANATE, AND EXAMPLES OF SHADING . . . . 167 

APPLE IN LIGHT AND SHADE 173 

FIRST STAGE OF WATER-COLOUR LANDSCAPE . . . 187 

SECOND STAGE OF WATER-COLOUR LANDSCAPE .' . . 191 
GRAPES . . . . . ' . . . . . 218 

APPLE IN COLOUR . . .219 

PHOTOGRAPH OF TURNER'S 'CEPHALUS AND PROCRIS' . . 271 
'LIKE GOING' . . . . . . . . 274 

WOODCUT do. .274 

DIAGRAMS ILLUSTRATING PERSPECTIVE, figures 1-13 . 316-339 
IFFLEY MILL ......... 344 

BACK MUSCLES OF THE HUMAN BODY 353 

BONES OF THE HUMAN BODY 359 

FRONT MUSCLES OF THE HUMAN BODY . . . < . 361 



CONTENTS. 
PART I. THEORY. 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. INTRODUCTION ....!... i 

II. Ibid . 16 

III. HISTORICAL : 

i. EARLY CHRISTIAN ART ...... 30 

ii. SYMBOLI*SM AND THE GROTESQUE . . . 42 

iii. GIOTTO ........ 63 

iv. ORCAGNA AND ANGELICO . . . . . 81 

v. MASACCIO ....... . 100 

vi. GHIRLANDAJO . . . . . in 

vii. ON THE STUDY OF FINISHED WORKS OF ART 122 



PART II. PRACTICE. 

CHAP. 

I. FREE-HAND DRAWING . . . ... .127 

II. DRAWING FROM THE CAST . . . . . .160 

III. USE OF WATER-COLOURS. INTRODUCTORY . . . 175 

IV. i. ON FINISH . ...... 202 

ii. COPYING 221 

V. FIRST LESSONS IN OIL-PAINTING . . . .231 

VI. COMPOSITION . . . . . . .257 

VII. ON LANDSCAPE SKETCHING . . . . . .271 

VIII. TREE-DRAWING . . . . . . . .207 

IX. PROCESSES OF WALL-PAINTING . , . . . q O 8 

X. PERSPECTIVE a T - 

6 l b 

XI. STUDY OF THE FIGURE . . . . . 0.5 

XII. A LECTURE ~* 



A HANDBOOK OF 



PICTORIAL ART. 






PICTORIAL ART. 

PART I. THEORY. 

INTRODUCTION. 

CHAPTER I. 

AS this Manual is intended to be both practical and 
theoretic, it must necessarily take the form, partly of 
a series of essays in as popular language as is possible, 
and partly of a set of rules, or even recipes. It is quite as 
certain that every artist must learn his work by strictly 
following out severe rules, as it is that mere diligent obedience 
to rules by itself will not make an artist, in the higher and 
narrower sense of the word. And though this book is written 
for publication in a place of general and not special education, 
so that Art will have to be considered in it as a means of 
liberal education for the many rather than as an end or object 
to educate a few men for ; the necessity for strict compliance 
with its elementary rules is no less absolute and complete on 
that account. To say that we will treat Pictorial or other 
Art only as a means of educating the eye, hand, and powers 
of observation, means, practically speaking, that we will only 
insist on its study to a certain extent ; or, that we will only 
teach a certain quantity of it. That quantity, then, however 
small, ought to be taught with the highest accuracy : and the 
smaller the advance made by our pupils, the safer their 
grounding ought to be. Man may no doubt want but little 
painting here below ; but he does not want that little wrong. 
The eye and hand can never be educated by any pursuit 
which does not call out their extremest accuracy of united 
action ; and to practice drawing as it is sometimes taught is 

B 






i INTRODUCTION. 

to indulge habits of demoralising carelessness. The first 
delusion with which most teachers have to contend, is that 
the pupil always says he ' only wants to draw a little,' and 
thinks that a little bad drawing is as well worth his acquiring 
as a little good. The fact is, it is not the want of time and 
effort which makes amateur work so weak as it often is. It 
is waste of time, and misdirection of effort, because the pupil 
will try to avoid proper study of line, light, and shade at 
first. People do not fall into contemptibly bad style because 
they only want to draw a little, but because they want to 
produce great effect with little attention. In every serious 
study, and indeed in what are considered lighter pursuits 
music, for instance it is understood that nothing can come 
of nothing, and that all success must be won by hard and 
systematic exertion. This discovery has scarcely been made 
yet as to drawing at least the necessity of steady and 
accurate work is not generally felt. One hears people talk 
of the accuracy of the artist's eye, and the firmness or 
delicacy of his touch, as if both accuracy and manual skill 
were to be taught them by a spell or communicated like 
infection. It takes them some time to realize that these 
powers are gained by slow degrees, and by use of the same 
means which are put in their own reach : that if they take 
those means they certainly will gain some power, and if not, 
probably not : that the workman they admire began to learn 
his art by drawing and bisecting straight lines, and that they 
must do the same. Most learners, till lately, have refused 
to do the same. They have not given up the hope of doing 
a great deal without any trouble. They have an idea that 
great painters were born with an instinctive knowledge of 
how to draw the figure with anatomical correctness, and that 
Giorgione woke one morning and found himself possessed 
of his scale of flesh tints, and skill to mix them and lay them 
on. They argue much in this way : ' As Rafael and Titian 
(probably) became able to paint the Madonna di San Sisto or 
the Assumption without any hard work, so shall we be able 
to paint pretty landscapes, or portraits of our friends, or 
illustrations of our favourite poets, without any hard work. 
At least we may learn to wash in and wash out colour, and 



GRAMMAR OF ART. 3 

produce landscape sketches to show our friends, and to remind 
ourselves of scenes we have enjoyed ; and that is all we want.' 
The fact that it sometimes brings this wish to partial and 
feeble fulfilment is the great attraction of the modern English 
Water-colour School, if that can be called a School which 
teaches so very little of any grammar of Art. A few years 
back the name of the Blottesque or Washy Style was a sadly 
well-merited one. And pictures were painted, by amateurs 
and professed artists alike, which were, like their producers, 
full of good spirit and bad drawing, and keen feeling and 
abundance of idleness, and waste of time, and life, and effort, 
and good colour and paper. A decided change for the better 
has taken place ; and we think it may be said that the works 
of all first and second-rate water-colourists are now carried 
out with an accuracy of drawing and honourable attempt at 
realization which was very rare ten years ago. Much of this 
is due to the advance of photography, which has called the 
popular eye to beauty of simple form and familiar detail in a 
remarkable manner. And, undoubtedly, the South Kensington 
Art Schools, and the many others which have arisen from 
them, or along with them, have produced important effects, 
which we may hope are destined to rapid increase. But it is 
still common to see both young and full-grown people begin 
the pursuit of Art at the wrong end, try to copy pictures be- 
fore they can draw straight lines, and take up colour before 
form, and not only colour but complicated colour. All this 
is done ; and it can lead to no educational result. Adult 
pupils, in particular, recoil from outline-drawing with amusing 
contempt. One of the great difficulties of a conscientious 
master in a modern school is the continued struggle with 
ladies and gentlemen who think that accuracy is 'niggling,' 
that it will ' spoil their touch ' to be able to draw a straight 
line, and that it will ' check their children's natural genius ' if 
they are not let loose on the whole colour-box to begin with. 
We hold that the term Education means the ' bringing out ' 
or development of the natural or original powers of the 
intellect, soul, and senses of man or woman. And to educate 
in Art is to develope the sense of colour and form, and the 
powers of the hand and eye. But these are very imperfectly 

B 2 



4 INTRODUCTION. 

developed, if at all, by the use of washes of colour, where the 
attention is directed only to tints, and withdrawn from any- 
thing like accurate representation of form. It is hard to get 
any one to see how surely confidence and power in the use of 
colour will result from real knowledge of form ; and how 
especially this is the case in water-colour, where so much 
depends on confidence and rapidity, and so many great things 
are really done at speed. But there is the unmeaning con- 
fidence of ignorance, and the very different confidence of 
knowledge, which is alike rapid and unerring. 

Many landscape painters, no doubt, have memories well 
stored with tolerably accurate conventional representations of 
mountain or other form ; the use a man makes of such repre- 
sentations in the detail of his picture is often called his 
' touch ' or his ' style.' We have heard persons, totally unable 
to draw, say that they meant to take a few lessons of Frederick 
Taylor, or of T. M. Richardson, 'just to learn his style;' 
supremely unconscious that a man's touch or style is the way 
he has gradually acquired of expressing the facts he cares 
most for, and that it has taken him years of observation, and 
wandering by moor and glen, to learn to make the rapid 
touches which they think they can imitate by the eye, without 
understanding them. They forget, moreover, that the painter 
they wish to imitate, probably went through severe technical 
education as a boy before he began to draw from nature, and 
that he has been drawing from nature ever since. And ac- 
cordingly we see much time wasted in producing copies or 
imitations of the slighter work of popular water-colourists, 
which are not only totally valueless and nugatory as pictures, 
but represent so much waste of time, and that kind of indolent 
half-effort the wrong way, which never can, and never ought 
to, end in anything but vexation and failure. 

Most persons, however, to do them justice, wish to do some- 
thing more than copy other men's work, and display the 
copies. They wish, as they say, to be able to make telling 
and graphic sketches of scenery or action by way of record, 
to assist their memory of pleasant or striking events or places. 
This is altogether right. And they have two things to con- 
sider. First, how great a thing they wish for; how very 



STYLE. 5 

important an advantage it is to have the power of pictorial 
expression ; whether it be not worth some toil to be able to 
save and store up impressions of beauty, which perhaps never 
can be seen more than once : and secondly, if to this end they 
will avail themselves of those plain elementary means of 
instruction in Art which are perfectly well-ascertained to be 
best for them, which are a safe foundation for every kind of 
superstructure, and which, once mastered, will never leave 
them. 

Lord Bacon says that ' he who has a wife and children has 
given hostages to fortune.' I have often thought, that to have 
won oneself any skill in or attachment to Pictorial Art is, in 
an important sense, to have taken hostages from fortune. 
This is literally true of those who have advanced far enough in 
the study of Art to be able to produce works which are either 
sublime or instructive, or affecting, or even saleable. In the 
last case, as in the others, the artist can produce a thing which 
has a market value ; and, except under improbable or distant 
contingencies, he has secured a livelihood. But we are 
engaged at present with Art as a branch of liberal education. 
In other words, we are considering what we may expect the 
study of Art to do for the man, even were he to produce no 
works of Art at all. It will be an after-consideration, what 
we may expect the man to do for us, supposing him to have 
taken our education kindly, and to have learnt to produce 
works above a certain standard. This subject will be con- 
sidered when we go into the question of how much may be 
taught all classes of men by paintings exhibited in public, or 
done in fresco on public buildings ; and what office such 
works might hold in national education. At present we have 
to answer the question, What is the function of Art in ordinary 
liberal education? What does the careful amateur gain by 
practising it ? What will teaching and practice in drawing do 
for a person who does not expect or intend ever to make 
pictures to sell ? What good will he get while he is learning, 
and what will it be worth to him to have learned, more or 
less about Art ? 

We say, it will do him good mentally, morally, and 
physically. Mentally, it will train his mind to grasp at ideas 



6 INTRODUCTION. 

of Beauty ; morally, it will make him thankful for them, save 
him from lower desires, and open to him the way of aspira- 
tion ; physically, it will teach him how to make the hand 
obey the eye with a perfect service, and give him a vast 
advantage in accomplishments, or sports, or serious works of 
accuracy and skill, which depend for success on perfect union 
in action of eye and hand. It is our object just now to point 
out some of the benefits which the study of Art may probably 
confer on persons of ordinary quickness, feeling, and capacity. 
There seems no practical necessity for much distinction 
between the intellectual and moral benefits to be derived 
from it, if it be rightly pursued. They may be distinguished, 
no doubt. Art may be skilfully and wrongly practised. 
There have been many bad men who were good painters, as 
there have probably been undevout astronomers, who were 
not mad. Still there can be no doubt that, practically 
speaking, the powers of the mind, and the higher qualities of 
the heart, are trained and improved together, through right 
study of Nature by Art, and of Art as a means of interpre- 
tating Nature. There are no human faculties whose develop- 
ment can be better for our own generation than those of 
observation and admiration. Habits of scientific observation 
are formed, no doubt, by the special training which men have 
to go through while preparing for certain professions. But a 
good foundation for them may be laid, and powers, which will 
be valuable hereafter, may be acquired in earlier life, by any 
young person who acquires the faculty of observing structure, 
and form as it indicates structure, and of learning to under- 
stand, and prize, and seek for the beauty which always ac- 
companies perfection of structure.* Mentally, the discovering 
and reasoning powers, the general intelligence, must gain 
greatly from that close accuracy of eye which is the result of 
careful drawing from Nature. Morally, there is what we may 
call the great sixth sense of admiration, which the proper 
study of outer Nature seems of all things the best calculated 
to draw out in men of our own time, and which is beyond 
all others needed in our own time because it supplies a fund 

* See " Hiatus, by Outis," Macmillan, 1870: a valuable Essay with a singular 
title, which deserves careful reading. 



ART AS A PLEASURE. 7 

of enjoyment for the many which is almost inexhaustible. 
Structural beauty is one of the objects of the scientific 
analyst, and he may find it in the dissected organs of animals 
or flowers. The painter would rather record their outward 
appearance than dissect them. Yet few men of science 
would not be well pleased to have become good draughtsmen 
from nature early in life ; and such men would not deny that 
their eyes had gained quickness of observation in the inside 
structures of things, from faithful attempts to represent their 
outsides. We need not speak of the advantages of clear or 
accurate drawing in most professions, nor do we propose to do 
so. For, in the first instance, Art must minister and appeal 
to enjoyment of visible nature, and to the sense of admiration. 
This, from its entire unselfishness, is one of the highest fcrrrs 
of human pleasure. And the chief office of Art for all people 
is really to show them how this great function of enjoyment 
is within reach of all. It would be almost new ground for an 
essayist, to go thoroughly into the nature of what we call 
Admiration, and show how it involves delighted recognition of 
something superior to oneself. Perhaps it is the great self- 
consciousness of most persons of our time, which makes it 
specially valuable for them to have the free and habitual use 
of a faculty which enables them to forget themselves. We 
may just notice how important, and yet how easy to make, is 
the step between admiration and aspiration. But the fact is, 
that the mere enjoyment of natural beauty is of great 
consequence for all our middle and lower classes at this time, 
simply because it is a strong and innocent enjoyment, and 
the direct tendency of much of their reading is to make them 
think guilt a necessary ingredient of pleasure. That they 
cannot generally appreciate Nature now is no reason for our 
supposing that they are incapable of being taught to appre- 
ciate. That a person cannot see the beauty of natural 
objects till he is told of it, does not make it less beneficial to 
him to be told. Having once learnt to see it, he will, in all 
human probability, make progress : he will find that a new 
path of observation and enjoyment is opened to his mind, and 
will soon come, as we all do, to take more pleasure in the 
little store of facts and feelings he has obtained for himself, 



8 INTRODUCTION. 

than in all he may have learnt from other men's teaching. 
By setting any person to draw from Nature or from good 
models, we withdraw him from the sphere of lesson-learning, 
and enable him to find out something for himself; and all 
thoughtful persons will see that this is an important step in 
his education, although many other people may have taken it 
before, and discovered the same fact for themselves. It is a 
new and important fact, when a new learner becomes aware 
of an old fact. The truth is, that persons who say they do 
not see the beauty of common things, mean almost always 
that they do not think it worth their while to see it, and very 
generally, that they do not believe in its existence. Many 
such persons, however, are kind-hearted and acute enough to 
allow that others may do with advantage what they do not 
care to do ; and that though it is not in their way to consider 
ravens and lilies with any particular attention, it may be of 
use to a poor or hard-worked man to do so, because it gives 
him some freshness and interest in life, and occupies him 
harmlessly and pleasantly. 

We put aside, for a few pages only, the important consider- 
ation that the exercise of the faculty of Imitation by Drawing 
invariably interests the mind in the object drawn : so that a 
person who never looked at, say even ' a cat or a fiddle ' 
before, would pay attention to both cats and fiddles if he had 
seen Rafael's painting of the latter and Veronese's of the 
former. 1 The pleasure which results from merely imitative 
drawing is, however, not a high one, though it is the only one 
a large portion of the public seem able to get from painting. 
Art is, after all, the pursuit of Beauty, a means of learning to 
produce it or appreciate it ; and on this matter it has some- 
thing like a prejudice to contend with in our own time and 
country. We cannot help noticing a strange preference on 
the part of the British mind for ugliness, plainness, or absence 
of outward interest. It is now so far disturbed, that we see 
the strength of its hold on the vulgar of all classes. It is 

1 Comp. Browning, ' Fra Lippo Lippi : ' . 

' For, don't you mark, we're made *o, that we love 
First when we see them painted, things we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times, nor cared to see,' &c., &c. 



ADMIRATION. 9 

exactly the same in fine people, who vote Art a bore, as it is 
in untaught religionists, who have a notion, more excusably 
and conscientiously, that Art is carnal and sinful. Indeed, 
educated persons are not much to be blamed for sometimes 
using contemptuous expressions about Art, when they have 
been annoyed by foolish or insincere raptures on the subject. 
But it is worthy of our attention that the faculty of Admi- 
ration needs cultivation among educated people quite as 
much as it does among the uneducated. In the first place, 
thought and leisure for thought are necessary to its develop- 
ment, and our own days are both idle and busy : and in the 
next, those who are making marked progress in other studies 
leave themselves too little time for it. Knowledge puffeth 
up, and the natural tendency of a person who is fast 
acquiring information from books is rather to undervalue than 
to admire what he does not find in his books. Book- 
knowledge is rapidly gained, and is self-conscious : it is 
almost the very contrary with knowledge of nature. Indeed, 
we think that when that is acquired in some degree, and the 
workman knows that his eye can see new things, and his hand 
record them, he is rather inclined to enjoy himself than be 
proud of himself. And though, no doubt, young persons may 
be as foolishly vain of their drawings as of anything else, 
there is no doubt that if good models, natural or other, are 
kept before them, they ought not to fall into temptations of 
that kind, seeing that with their skill, their appreciation of 
the greater beauty before them must necessarily increase. 

It is surprising how recent the general taste for beauty of 
natural scenery is. A feeling on the subject, which is now 
almost national, has been awakened by the various works of 
Mr. Ruskin. His inspirations seems to have been partly, as 
he himself says, drawn from the great works of Turner. 
They could not have been his, however, without the most 
devoted study of all the outer aspects of nature, the closest, 
perhaps, ever bestowed by any man on record. Without him, 
landscape Art would probably have remained at the point to 
which Stanfield, Creswick, Harding, and Copley Fielding 
brought it twenty years ago. Pre-Rafaelitism, by which we 
mean correct drawing, and the English domestic School of 



i o INTR OD UC TION. 

Art, would certainly have had less rapid success. The effect 
of his works on Art will probably not be appreciated during 
his lifetime : but nothing can be more strangely true than his 
remarks on the eighteenth-century feeling about scenery. It 
is surprising how entirely the life of towns seems to have 
sufficed at that time, to men who really possessed great 
feeling, besides all their masculine power of intellect. 
Thinkers or writers, wits as they call themselves, were con- 
tent with their own resources and their books, and lived as 
if their only game was man. The life of the Club, the Mall, 
the coffee-house, and the theatre, with the full enjoyment of 
each other's conversation, in days when personal intercourse 
stood in the place of light reading, sufficed them for work and 
rest. Nor is much to be said against them for following the 
ways of their time. But they could and did dispense with 
sources of change and repose, and pensive or active pleasure, 
which we could not part with for ourselves, and hope to 
extend to others. To the man of letters, from Dryden's time 
to Pope's, and thence till well into the long life of Turner, all 
that was not the Town was the Country ; and was looked on 
as a region mainly productive of cream. Innocence was sup- 
posed to be another of its staple products ; its inhabitants all 
carried crooks (probably none of their urban describers ever 
formed a conception of the uses of that instrument), and per- 
formed a good deal on pipes. As for wild, or silvan, or 
rugged scenery, if it was believed in at all, it seems to have 
been looked on much as if it was in the other world ; that is 
to say, with the feeling that no one in his senses would go 
there while he could possibly avoid it. Conventional de- 
scriptions of cool glades and purling brooks, and mountains 
which lifted their horrid peaks above the clouds, seem to have 
sufficed for the imagination : and two or three proverbial 
sayings will tolerably well express all we know about our 
fathers' feelings concerning any scenery, except town scenery. 
One is the mythic Frenchman's 'Aimez vous les beautes de 
la Nature ? Pour moi, je les abhorre.' Another comes from 
no less a man than the great Blake ' I find Nature abomin- 
ably in my way!' And a third is the ironical question and 
answer of Christopher North, ' What is the motive with which 



NEGLECT OF LANDSCAPE. u 

a thinking being should undertake a pilgrimage to the Lakes ? 
Why, the eating and drinking, to be sure ! ' 

Habits of thought of this kind, or something like it, as 
many of us will remember, lasted up to our own youth 1 . 
The love of sport of course modified this view of nature to 
men : the hunter is the hunter in all ages and times, and has 
often formed a link between the regular town-wit and the 
regular countryman. In the days of Addison, however, we 
know that such people were only admitted into society like 
Sir Roger de Coverley, under proper guidance, and, so to 
speak, with a ring through their noses. Latterly the taste for 
mountain adventure has risen as a kind of compromise 
between field-sports and contemplative enjoyment of the 
loftier scenery of nature. But it is obvious that, till quite 
lately, all the appeal of nature was simply lost to the minds of 
able men. Art-study, if they undertook it at all, was 
scholastic from beginning to end. Casts and skeletons to 
draw from, academic masters to draw after ; landscape really 
as conventional and fixed in its rules as Byzantine Mosaic : 
no domestic subject, except Dutch subject ; the old Renais- 
sance-classic enthusiasm, fast perishing, these things were all 
the ordinary student had to look to. Now men are not 
first moved to wish to paint by beauties of abstract form, but 
by trees, and clouds, and flowers, and sunsets. And when 
they were wont to find that the rules of Art would only let 
them paint trees brown, and took no notice of clouds at all, 
they felt unable to connect Art with Nature. This accounts 
for a fact in the biography of one of the greatest men in 
modern times, which seems almost to have baffled his very 
able biographer. Goethe (see Lewes' life of him), with every 
wish to pursue Art, never had any success in it, though he 
made considerable exertions. Failing in perhaps nothing 
else he attempted, he failed in that. It is natural enough. 

1 The Diary and Conversations of Miss Berry give some curious illustrations of 
inability to give real attention to natural beauty. There was no want of sensibility, 
as it seems : she speaks of being fairly overcome by the pass between Sallenches 
and Chamonix, and owns the impossibility of describing it. But she makes no 
attempt whatever at natural description anywhere else from London to Naples. 
Beautiful, truly romantic, good roads, and fleas, sum up all her country pictures. 
On towns and galleries she is voluble and intelligent. 



1 2 IXTR OD UC TION. 

He was not taught to look for Beauty in the free field and on 
the hill-side, but in the studio : he did not feel the perpetual 
solicitation of outer Nature : not to say that he had countless 
other ways of expressing Thought continually pressing upon 
him, and that ' non omnia possumus omnes.' When he 
looked on beautiful scenes, it was generally in the company 
of other persons, male, or probably female, to whose forms 
Nature was only a background. And to one who claimed 
prompt success as a right, severe and plodding study of line 
must have been intolerable. It is useless to set up Painting 
against Poetry to one who has the highest powers of Poetry, 
and greatest command of ideas and language ; because he 
has the readier means of self-expression prepared for his 
hand. So great a name in the Romantic as the author of 
Goetz von Berlichingen can hardly have had much sympathy 
with the classicisms of the studios of 1770-1800. 

There is no doubt that the strong feeling for all Pictorial 
Art which is experienced and expressed by our own genera- 
tion, originated in the love of Landscape. And it is quite 
possible that there may be persons capable of finding instruc- 
tion and enjoyment of the highest character in landscape Art, 
who nevertheless shrink from severe free-hand drawing in the 
first instance. We think on the whole that there is an alter- 
native for them, which will be stated at length in our more 
practical chapters. Speaking in the fewest possible words, 
let them study and copy with real exactness the woodcuts of 
Albert Durer, and the mezzotints of Turner's Liber Studio- 
rum. We have known instances where whole years of eager 
and useless attempts at water-colour landscape have been 
utilized in the end ; by the mere fact of their bringing the 
impatient student to his senses, and sending him at last to 
methodical work in line. The haste and impatience which 
are derived from genuine eagerness to reproduce keenly-felt 
images of beauty, may be tamed and systematized into a kind 
of success. Not that it will ever satisfy. In all cases of true 
artistic feeling the pursuit is the reward, not the result. But 
the vulgar impatience of idleness or indifference, which is 
always demanding large results from slight exertions, is as 
hopeless in painting as in any other pursuit whatever. 



ED UCA TION BY ART. 13 

It is for what^are called the upper working-classes of our 
own time that the study of Art may do the most. Whatever 
definition of Art we may come to, its office is the pursuit of 
Beauty; and its educational function must be to create and 
gratify the desire of Beauty wherever it is needed. And it 
is sadly needed in our own time and country. No thinking 
person who is at all acquainted with the habits and surround- 
ings of English lower-middle life, in town or country, can help 
feeling how great is its need of freshness, of interest, of the 
sense of innocent enjoyment by the eye, of appreciation of 
natural beauty when seen, or of any hope or desire of it at 
any time. There is painful truth in the saying that the 
English middle-classes are drugged with business, and in- 
capable of at least many rational enjoyments, and the poorer 
classes blinded with labour, and hopeless of any but the 
lowest pleasures. No one, who has not seen it, can have a 
conception of how unvaried, monotonous, unthoughtful, weary, 
and undeveloped is the life of large masses of our own people ; 
and how the mere wish for change, variety, play of mind and 
relief of new idea, constantly solicits men to vicious plea- 
sures, because they are without access to harmless ones. Nor 
will any one who is acquainted with the subject deny, that 
cheap Art Schools, well supplied with natural models, would 
open a path of pleasure and security, to many, at least, of the 
respectable working-classes. It may take much time and 
exertion before carpenters and bricklayers are taught to enjoy 
themselves in drawing from nature : but many have been 
taught it in the last twenty years, and its effect is already 
visible in our architecture. 

This University may take not unjust pride in having been 
one of the foremost institutions in the country to demand 
and encourage the labours of artist workmen. Those who 
taught and organised the class of men who execute the flower 
carvings of modern buildings in Oxford and London may 
say at least that they have called out the energies of an 
artist-class in a short time, and created a real feeling for 
Beauty exactly among the men who wanted it most. It re- 
mains to be seen how far the Workman's School of Art will 
advance ; whether, and how soon, figure sculpture and original 



14 INTRODUCTION. 

groups may succeed simply floral decoration. And we may 
still hope for the best : for though hardly any truly original 
works have yet been produced, much has been done in little 
time ; a large number of men have been led to faithful study 
of nature, and their example and teaching will not fail among 
their companions. It is idle to say that a large majority of 
the working-classes never will accept any teaching from Art 
Schools. The same remark applies to model lodgings, to 
baths and washhouses, and to every remedial experiment, 
and attempt at improvement. In all these matters the real 
question is about the benefits conferred on those who will 
avail themselves of the advantages offered. Supposing these 
advantages to be anything tangible, one may expect that the 
numbers of those who seek them will increase in geometrical 
proportion. Nobody expects that the whole of the working- 
classes will at once take to drawing and entirely renounce 
strong liquor : what is hoped is that a fair per-centage of 
them may be partly secured from temptation to excess by 
having a finer mental stimulus put in their reach, instead of 
the coarser physical one. And it is hoped that the advantages 
of such a change will be proclaimed by those who share in 
them : and that they will bear witness to each other of that 
great and keen enjoyment of the beauty of His works which 
God has set within every man's reach, and whose intensity 
and boundlessness is best known by those who have laboured 
for it the longest. 

There is a tale in which a variety of gifts are bestowed on 
a Prince at his birth. Last of all it is given him by his uncle, 
an eminent and well-disposed enchanter, that for the term of 
his natural life he shall be able to see the Fairies. ' He shall 
see all the hidden beauty and latent life which other men's 
eyes are not fine enough to see. He shall know the fretful 
spirits which live under the holly leaves, and in the curls of 
the young ferns, and beneath the scarlet agarics, and on 
Oxfordshire brick walls, all crimson and green, and in the 
orange-and-grey lichens of winter oak roots. He shall know 
all about the dwellers in the Alpine rose, and meet face to 
face "the Brown Men of the Moors, that stay beneath the 
heather bell." He shall understand the life that is in the 



ED UCA T1ON BY ART. 15 

leaves, and how, they faint under heat of noon, and drink 
deep of summer rain. He shall know the spirits of structure 
and growth, and the toughness of old yews and thorns, and 
the sad strength of the fir and cypress. Also he shall be on 
terms with the spirits of fire and light, and the living rays 
which make colour of sky and cloud and distance ; and with 
all the underground tribes who stain earths and metals and 
jewels, and dole out the elements of man's frame with all its 
beauty ; and its fearfulness and wonder, seeing to this day 
it is made of the substance of the earth and dust of the 
ground. And having all these gifts, he will care little for 
what vulgar men strive for, and nothing for what evil men 
desire ; and the common troubles of life will touch him lightly, 
for he will have that within him which they cannot touch. 
And because of the friends he sees, and who see him, he shall 
always bear himself gently and stoutly among men, with an 
high heart and an humble.' 

Something like this was the gift to the fairy Prince, as we 
remember it ; and to have one's eyes opened to the beauty of 
common things is at least an analogous gift. In any case, 
all means of refinement, and ways of harmless enjoyment, 
and encouragements to cultivate the sense of Beauty, seem 
to be things desirable, and in fact needful, most needful at 
this moment for the inner life of our respectable middle and 
lower classes. Music does something for them, we know not 
how much ; and Pictorial Art may do we know not how much 
more. An excellent system is fairly at work almost through- 
out the country ; we have but to add interest and vigour to its 
working. Practical questions as to the possibility, or, in other 
words, the value as compared with the cost, of general Art 
Education, must be considered in another chapter. 



CHAPTER II. 

IN the first chapter Art has been viewed rather as a means 
of general education, than as an end with an education 
of its own, or an object of special training. The latter way 
of contemplating it is of course the most proper for such a 
Manual as this. It will be necessary, however, to look at our 
subject both ways, and consider how high and well diffused 
Art Instruction might react on national character and educa- 
tion, and how it might be made a powerful means of teaching, 
as well as a valuable thing to be taught. 

Generally speaking, the Objects of Art Education will be 

1. To provide for the few, in every class of life, who are 
capable of producing original or impressive works, such 
training as shall best acquaint them with their own especial 
gifts, and best enable them, by discipline and encouragement, 
to do themselves full justice. In their education Art is 
considered as an end or object. 

2. Our second object will be to place within reach of the 
people generally such an education in form and colour as 
shall enable any person to ascertain and develope whatever 
powers he may possess of Observation and Imitation, or of 
Pictorial Expression, direct or symbolic. 

This part of our treatise seems also the proper place for 
attempting some such tentative definition of Art, as shall at 
least explain what we understand by it, as a thing for men to 
teach and to learn. We may define it as ' That exercise 
of their faculties by which men express thoughts or ideas of 
beauty, or truth, or nobleness, by means of Colour and Form.' 
We also say of their thoughts and ideas, that they may be 
referred to Nature as their source, and to the imagination 



NECESSARY TRAINING. 17 

or other mental* operation, for the shape in which the man 
expresses or presents them l . 

Our first purpose, if successful, would result in a School of 
Painters well trained in technical operations, accumulating 
knowledge in the use of materials and tools, and trained in 
accuracy of hand and eye. They will produce works of more 
or less originality and importance, which will bear their part 
in popular education, by appealing through the eye to thought, 
imagination, and feeling. The success of our second object 
amounts to a national and popular advance in various 
branches of Art, from the numbers and emulation of those 
who will take interest in them. 

By advance in Art, as regards these, we mean greater ap- 
preciation of it, which is one form of mental improvement ; 
and greater skill in producing minor works of conventional or 
applied Art copies, patterns and designs, for example. These 
will, in time, be produced and multiplied with sufficient skill 
and in sufficient quantity to bring them within easy reach of 
those who need them most, that is to say, of our lower classes. 
Of course, if general taste and intelligence as to Painting be 
improved, the Arts of Design, Etching, Engraving, Archi- 
tectural Carving, Photography, and indeed of dress and 
decoration, will advance in a corresponding way. 

To propose either of these branches of Art as a part of 
liberal or of ordinary education at once raises the question, 
How far persons of average or inferior capacity, or with only 
a common amount of leisure and energy, can learn, or be 
taught, Drawing ? for on accurate drawing of forms all Art of 
course depends. In answering this question the old difficulty 

1 This definition is in accordance with Mr. Ruskin's account of all true Art as 
the testimony of man's delight in God's work. Nature is His work, and from ob- 
servation of Nature man obtains all types of material beauty. He is enabled to 
impress his own thought or character on them when he reproduces them ; and in 
proportion as they are impressed with the intellectual or poetic power, or the 
devout spirit of the producer, we call them Ideal, Sublime, Original, Imaginative, 
Religious, and so on. As for the nature of Beauty, it seems to defy all real 
analysis ; and this, and its universal presence, and the intensely powerful feeling 
it evokes, seem to point to its being a direct manifestation of Divine Power, 
Again, the fact that Man can produce it in high perfection, but cannot analyze it, 
or clearly say how he produces it, seems to throw some light on the expression 
that man was made in the Image of God. 

C 



j 8 INTR OD UC T1ON. 

recurs, that Art requires as real application as any other study, 
that people will not pursue it in earnest, and that incompetent 
persons are generally inattentive. They still think of it only 
as what they call an accomplishment, that is to say, an orna- 
mental addition to education, which gives a finish, whether it 
be good or not. In short, because they want but little of it, 
they do not care about the value of that little. We submit 
that no part of education ought to be trifled with, and that 
no pupil ought to be encouraged to begin anything which he 
is not to follow out in a way which will give him either 
development or grasp, range of thought or accuracy. A single 
course of freehand drawing, thoroughly and faithfully worked 
through by the pupil, will give him an amount of patience, 
fineness of hand, and accurate ocular calculation, which will 
last him his life. The same time, spent in water-colour 
washes, will only debauch his power of attention, and expose 
him to contempt from the rapidly increasing number of those 
who know a little of what Drawing really is. The usual and 
right line of argument in favour of our classical education is 
based on the admission that such education is a training in 
accuracy and proper habits of thought and work. And such 
training may be found in grammar of Art as well as in 
grammar of language. It should be remembered, again, now 
that Art Schools are working to some purpose, that the pro- 
fession and practice of indifferent drawing and colour, as an 
accomplishment, is seen to be more foolish as the public eye, 
that is to say, the eye of a large per-centage of the educated 
public, acquires ideas about right forms and wrong forms ; 
and when such knowledge is once gained, it becomes rather 
difficult and disagreeable to look over portfolios of the present 
day. As to the question of power to learn to draw rightly, 
it is simply one of time and attention ; of a little time and a 
little real attention. Make it really a part of education, and 
boys and girls will be educated by it. To imagine that the 
hand and eye which can stop a strongly-hit cricket ball, and 
then perhaps ' shy ' down a distant wicket, are really unable 
to draw any form their owner pleases, is absurd. Conceive, 
again, the dexterity, the prompt, perfect and harmonious 
action of hand and eye which are required to cut down a 



NATURAL POWERS. 19 

grouse whirring away before the wind, or a 'rocketing' 
pheasant. Fine embroidery, or even the action of threading 
a needle, requires quite as much eye as the best etching ; so 
does making a small nail or rivet on the anvil, or good cabinet 
work, or even planing a board to a true surface. Think of the 
power which is daily shown on bodily dexterities, or opera- 
tions of ordinarily skilled labour, and you cannot fail to see 
how small a share of it, bestowed fairly on study of form, 
would give man or woman a continually increasing interest 
and sense of enjoyment all through life. 

There is no doubt that some persons, almost from child- 
hood, show inclination for drawing, or propensity to express 
themselves in lines and colours. But they do not do so 
accurately or rightly from childhood. They require teaching 
like other people, and if they will not submit to be taught, 
their efforts will be as contemptibly clever as other people's 
are contemptibly stupid. Those, however, who have real 
feeling for nature will generally be led, from impotent efforts 
to record their favourite scenes, to something like systematic 
training, in order to learn to do their perceptions justice. 
Thus, even Turner, if one may judge from his earliest known 
works, went through a stage of frank unsuccessful efforts at 
colour and realization, before he began that course of plain 
architectural drawing and exact mechanical labour which 
gave his hand its certainty. Genius for drawing, it has been 
said with perfect truth, is genius for taking an unusual 
amount of trouble to learn it ; or power of concentrating 
intense attention on the subject. There may be great 
difference between people's natural powers and faculties. 
What we say is, that that difference is not great enough 
either to enable the naturally gifted person to draw without 
proper teaching, or to prevent the ordinary student from 
learning to draw to good purpose, if he really wishes it. No 
desperate efforts of will are needed ; only steady attention 
and patience in drawing and bisecting straight lines. 

There is no doubt that what we call a taste for drawing 
depends on development of the faculties of observation and 
imitation, or representation, and that it can hardly exist 
without them. In many children the habit of observing, or 

C 2, 



20 INTRODUCTION. 

seeking enjoyment from natural objects, is early formed ; and 
these will be our best pupils : but any obedient boy or girl 
of twelve or thirteen may master elementary difficulties with 
little addition to the course of daily lessons : and in all, the 
first sense of success or advancing skill will almost secure 
further advance. The necessary faculties exist in all ; but no 
doubt every person's use of his faculties will be modified by 
the access he may or may not obtain to beautiful objects. 
Art Schools thrive in smaller towns or country places where 
men can really see what nature is. But the disadvantages 
under which the inhabitants of great cities labour may be 
steadily contended with. Excursion trains galleries of good 
copies, open rather on week-day evenings than on Sundays 
cheap Art instruction and prizes still-life and flower-painting 
these things will do much ; and we have not yet seen 
all that they may do. Nor must it be forgotten that every 
successful pupil will call out rivals. But to assist in pro- 
viding means and opportunities of this kind is, in all pro- 
bability, a good work of real importance. One cannot 
help remembering how Blake lived his life without any 
sight of the higher beauties of nature, and how Turner 
spent a fourth of his in searching hard for landscape subject 
within reach of Old Maiden Lane. His case, described 
with touching eloquence in ' Modern Painters,' vol. v., is a 
not unfair illustration of the great difficulty of Art-teaching 
for the lower classes of our own people. They have far too 
little access to natural beauty of any kind ; and it is by 
the sight of it that the mind is first stimulated into effort to 
record its impressions. Beauty is in the eye of the gazer, it 
is said ; but the eye must be taught and encouraged to look 
for it : and when once the habit of looking for it is estab- 
lished, the habit becomes a want, and begins to gratify itself, 
and react on itself, and to gather powers for fresh seeking and 
fresh gratification. The great Poet of Nature was said to 
have created the faculties by which his works can be enjoyed, 
and the saying is almost literally true. It is certain that 
Wordsworth did teach a large part of his generation to look 
on natural objects with far more careful and searching eyes 
than before, and that they did see far more in nature and in 



HAND AND EYE. 21 



him, in consequence ; and that a great amount of high and pure 
enjoyment was in consequence thrown open to them and 
their descendants. And something like the same method 
may be applied generally in education. Draw common 
natural objects, and you will see them as Wordsworth saw 
them ; i.e. with some sense of the beauty that is in them, and 
of the enjoyment which is to be drawn from them. Our 
Schools of Art are in a measure teaching this ; but more 
might be attempted, and this great means of self-cultivation 
might be set in all men's way. For, as every person knows 
who has ever tried to make a careful copy of any object or 
picture he really liked, there is nothing like the imitative 
faculty to excite and train the observing faculty. The eye 
guides the hand, but the use of the hand trains the eye. It is 
not till one has tried to imitate a picture touch for touch that 
one really sees its touches. No one can understand the 
difficulty or pleasure of Art till he has tried what it is to 
produce a likeness of something, and learnt that, for long and 
perhaps for ever, study and practice only discover fresh 
difficulties. It is so ordered, and we have reason to be 
thankful for it, that very slight success gives very great 
pleasure. 

There is a passage in Mr. Browning's ' Fra Lippo Lippi ' 
which bears so forcibly on the pleasures of using the imitative 
power, and puts what we wish to express so pithily, that 
we cannot help quoting it here, though we have partly 
anticipated it : 

For, don't you mark, we're made so, that we love 
First when we see them painted, things we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times, nor cared to see. 
And so they are better, painted : better to us, 
Which is the same thing. Art was given for that ; 
God uses us to help each other so 
Lending our minds out.' 

Real progress is constantly made by pupils whose efforts 
are not much appreciated by themselves or others. They 
appreciate better, they draw harder, they gather determina- 
tion, patience, accuracy ; until at last their time comes, and 



22 INTRODUCTION. 

power begins to wait on feeling : and from that time, what- 
ever they produce, they are artists at heart. 

But in our great towns, and for a sadly great part of our 
population, natural beauty is hard to reach. There are few 
who live among mountains and rivers, and have the continual 
appeal of Nature before them. Yet those who have it very 
generally neglect it : and much may be done with little means. 
An artisan who has a few flowers in his room may perhaps 
learn to draw their leaves and if he does so, the day on 
which his first efforts have a little success is likely to be a 
happy one for him. And here is the importance of Art 
Schools and open museums and collections, by which fit 
types and forms of natural beauty may be made accessible 
to those who cannot go to Nature for themselves 1 . The 
Douglas 'loved better to hear the lark sing than the mouse 
squeak.' So does the landscape painter. But for all that, if 
a few Harding's, or Stanfield's, or some of Brett's, or Alfred 
Hunt's, or Goodwin's, or Inchbold's work, could be hung in 
public view in all our towns, they would have no small 
effect on- men's minds, and would form a silent school of 
landscape in themselves. 

Accordingly, the importance of copies and multiplications 
of works of Art, and of simple studies, is very great just now, 
and such work might employ more persons than it does. 
Any real transcript of Nature which will interpret her to the 
popular eye has its value. The taste or want by which 
Nature is enjoyed has to be created. The first step is to set 
the right representations of nature before men ; the next, to 
get them to study by using the hand, and learn to see by the 
attempt at imitation. 

Of course, exposing good pictures to public view is one 
great means, the first step which is really possible. As to 
how this should be effected, we may begin with the testimony 
of the first, or one or two of the first, painters of our time 
and country in the higher scale of Art. We give no opinion, 
at present, about attempts at landscape frescoes ; we only 
say that means might be found for gratuitous exhibition 

1 Casts of blackberries, primroses, and wayside beauties in general, are of great 
value in this way, and illustrate Fra Lippo Lippi's view remarkably well. 



EVIDENCE ON WALL-PAINTING. 23 

of all kinds of Art-works. And we must here quote some 
important evidence given by Watts, and Armitage, and Sir 
C. Lindsay, to the Royal Academy Commission : 

Evidence of G. F. Watts, Esq., before the Royal Academy Commission. 
(Bine-book, p. 333, sq.) 

' A. 3134. The Royal Academy should, by way of developing taste, do something 
towards placing before the eyes of the public at large the best specimens of Art. 

* * * The students of the Royal Academy who made good designs and gained 
medals should be given a set of designs, perhaps by Mr. Herbert or Mr. Dyce, and, 
with a certain small allowance, required to carry them out on the walls of some 
public building. 

' Q. For instance, the School at Eton, perhaps St. Paul's, and railway stations ? 

'A. Yesj wherever there is a bare wall. I do not think there would be any 
great difficulty in finding artists quite capable of directing such works. 

' Q. 3174. You have led the way in what you suggest by painting the great hall 
at Lincoln's Inn ? 

' A . Yes ; and years ago I offered to paint the great hall at the Euston Square 
Station * * * receiving the bare outlay of my expenditure in scaffolding and colours. 

* * * (In the then state of railway property even that expense was not considered 
justifiable.) 

' Q: 3 1 79- Would not this involve too great sacrifice of time and money on the 
part of the artist * * * ? 

'A. No, I do not think so. Mr. Maclise, (e.g.) if he were requested to furnish a 
series of designs for the Royal Academy, to be executed under the supervision of a 
competent man, would, I am sure, make them with great pleasure; and if the 
Academy were to pay him something for doing them he would not probably charge 
a great deal for a public purpose. 

' Q. 3180. Do you think the taste for these mural decorations is increasing in the 
country ? 

A. Not so much as would be desirable ; but that is mainly because they are not 
enough seen. They are only executed where the public at large do not see them. 
I think also they are much too expensive. I should at first employ students upon 
them; and scatter them abroad as much as possible.' 

See also Sir Coutts Lindsay's evidence, p. 410, Q. 
3827 : 

' With few exceptions, the frescoes which our artists have painted have been too 
much finished in detail, and much too little considered in the mass they have 
painted them like easel pictures ; the consequence is the works have cost more time 
than the artist could afford to expend ; and fresco painting has been a losing 
concern.' 

For confirmation of Mr. Watts' view on mural painting, 
see Answers 3834, 3835, where the advantage, for advanced 
students, of working under the supervision of a thorough 
painter, and from his designs, is noticed. 



24 INTRODUCTION. 

With this corresponds Mr. Armitage's evidence, which 
strongly commends the French principle of teaching pur- 
sued by great painters like Delaroche, Coignet, or Picot, 
who admitted a large number of students into their own 
ateliers l . 

P. 540. A. 5020. Our Academy should take that sort of education in hand.' 

P. 541. 'A. 5029. I worked at the large oil-painting in the Ecole des Beaux- 
Arts, under Delaroche's superintendence.' 

'A. 5030. There is not a sufficient demand for historical Art in England to 
create such schools (in private ateliers) ; but I think that one head school at the 
Academy would be of the greatest possible benefit to the future generation of 
artists.' 

'A. 5031. The demand for serious Art (Art involving good draughtsmanship) 
is not sufficiently large to induce great painters to undertake the training of 
students. A thorough course of drawing would be of great advantage both to 
portrait-painters and landscape-painters ; but they are generally of a different 
opinion, and the public eye is not yet sufficiently educated to detect their weak- 
ness in drawing.' 

It has been said in praise of the Roman Church that she 
has made Art the handmaid of Religion. This is no doubt 
true in a sense ; it is not to be denied that music, painting, 
and sculpture have been made auxiliary in various ways to 
religious teaching and religious emotion in Roman churches 
and convents. But the distinction between the two ways of 
using Art as the handmaid of religion is to be noticed : we 
think in this country that it is as desirable to make use of 
Painting for religious instruction through the imagination, as 
it is useless and wrong to try to excite religious feeling by 
ideal personifications of beauty and sanctity. Pictures of the 
events of Holy Scripture, whether on glass, in mosaic, or in 
fresco, have been used from the time of the early paintings 
in the Catacombs for instruction ; to teach simple people the 
facts of their faith, to enable them to realize, to aid their 
belief by giving them some conception of how events and men 
did actually look at the time of action. Also, for the same 
purpose, symbolism has been made great use of to convey 
ideas, necessarily imperfect, of persons and events which are 
practically and literally inconceivable : as of Divine Presence, 
of the Last Judgment, &c. Again, it has been used to lead 

1 Our Art-students are highly to be congratulated on the adoption of this course 
by Mr. Poynter, and, we believe, by M. A. Legros. 



RELIGIOUS SYMBOLISM. 25 

partly instructed persons into useful trains of thought : as by 
the Good Shepherd, the Ark representing the Church, the 
Fish as representing the believer, and others. So many of 
the receptive faculties of our minds find delightful employ- 
ment in noticing and tracing out analogies, that the value of 
these symbolisms can hardly be overrated : to this day both 
educated and uneducated people might follow the train of 
ideas suggested by the Ark, as representing the great com- 
pany of believers on earth, with pleasure and advantage. 
And to this day careful historical frescoes, boldly, perhaps 
roughly done 1 , designed by men like Watts and Armitage, 
and painted by their pupils, after proper antiquarian and 
topographical study would be an incalculable help to all 
classes in realizing the actual character of events, which have 
too often lost their vividness as facts, and seem facts no longer, 
only narratives dimly, remembered and passively believed. 
But the emotional use of Beauty by Religion, that is to say, 
the setting up images and pictures of saints in churches, in 
any position or action, except that of fellow-worshippers with 
the congregation, will not be tolerated in our time and 
country. Sooner or later, it is felt, that the beautiful image 
set up to stimulate devotion of simple minds, attracts it to 
itself, and becomes simply an idol. But no man ever would 
worship before Tintoret's Paradise, or Michael Angelo's Last 
Judgment ; though the thoughts both pictures would call up 
in his mind might make his worship more earnest for a whole 
lifetime. Still less danger of anything like image-worship 
would follow from straightforward representations of Old and 
New Testament history, where Mount Sinai should be 
painted like Mount Sinai, and Moses and Joshua according to 
some careful conception of their actual form, dress, and 
presence ; or, again, from pictures of our Lord's Life with His 
Apostles, in which Gennesaret, and its soft hills, and knots of 
palm, and fringe of oleanders, and sweet waters reflecting 
the snow of Hermon should be faithfully drawn, and the 
sacred persons represented as they appeared and walked 
on earth ; not in senatorial togas and the trappings of Pagan 

1 As Paul Uccello's in the Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella. 



26 INTRODUCTION. 

dignitaries. Mr. Herbert's picture of Moses, as Father of the 
Law, is no unworthy example of proper treatment of a 
historical subject in pictures for national instruction. Without 
discussing his ideal of Moses, or entering into the question 
whether his Hebrews should wear Ninevite, or Egyptian, or 
modern Arab dresses, there is no doubt that there is an 
amount of historical realization about his picture, which will 
give any attentive spectator, taught or untaught, something 
like an inward vision of the scene and the facts. There is 
suggestive landscape background, drawn with almost absolute 
local accuracy. Holman Hunt's Scapegoat, the Finding in 
the Temple, and the Shadow of Death, are modern pictures of 
note whose impressiveness is greatly aided by union of cor- 
rectness and imaginative power in their landscape. Compare 
the pale red granite of Sinai, all glowing with yellow sun- 
rise, as Mr. Herbert gives it in literal truth 1 , with the following 
description of Claude's ' Golden Calf ;' ' Modern Painters,' 
vol. v. p. 251 : 

' The scene is nearly the same as that of the St. George (wood, a river side, a 
fountain, and rich foreground vegetation) ; but, in order better to express the 
desert of Sinai, the river is much larger and the trees and vegetation softer. 
Two people, uninterested in the idolatrous ceremonies, are rowing in a pleasure- 
boat on the river. The Calf is about sixteen inches long (perhaps we ought to 
give Claude credit for remembering that it was made of earrings, though he might 
as well have enquired how large Egyptian earrings were). Aaron has put it on 
a handsome pillar, under which five people are dancing, and twenty-eight, with 
several children, worshipping. Refreshments for the dancers are provided in four 
large vases under a tree on the left, presided over by a dignified person, holding a 
dog in a leash. Under the distant group of trees appears Moses, conducted by 
some younger personage (Nadab or Abihu). This younger personage holds 
up his hands ; and Moses, in the way usually expected of him, breaks the tables 
of the Law, which are as large as an ordinary octavo volume.' 

This kind of Art is obviously and altogether nugatory, as 
far as historical instruction goes. But really historical repre- 
sentations of events will be of great value in teaching any 
history. And the value of such means is admitted by 
historians, not only in word, but by example. Word-painting 
is used to the utmost in all modern histories since Carlyle : 

1 The actual scene of that event is, in all human probability, at least within 
sight of the spot which our countryman has chosen. 



NATURAL TREATMENT. 27 

works like 'Smith's Dictionary,' and Rawlinson's ' Herodotus, 3 
cannot dispense with woodcut illustrations, though it certainly 
is of a mild and general character : Mr. Froude and Professor 
Kingsley strain every nerve in descriptions of gesture, emotion, 
facial expression, minor but significant detail of dress or 
manners : they are felt to be right so far, in spite of keen 
criticism. And yet painters will not take the hints so broadly 
given, and apply themselves to teach history on canvas, or, 
better still, in fresco. Of course it is because they cannot 
get a chance of remuneration scarcely can they find an 
opportunity of shewing what they can do. Mr. Watts' 
offer to a Railway Company is mentioned in his evidence ; 
nor was that the only offer generously made by him, and 
rejected, with or without thanks. And all the while the 
railway-stations are adorned with illustrations of the good 
effects of Thorley's Cattle Food, Milner's Patent Safes, and 
some other gentleman's Perambulators, Warranted to make 
Home Happy. 

These great works are paid for ; and advertising Art does 
something, in that it pays for itself. Still, the spaces of wall 
in railway-stations are very large and dreary. And every 
one who has waited for the train at Coventry or elsewhere, 
will, we think, agree with us that, allowing the rights of 
Thorley's Food and Milner's Safes to places on the line, large 
spaces above are still left, to be covered, we trust, by bold and 
rapid fresco in time to come. Our own generation, of all 
things, most needs high thought ; and especially to be 
reminded of its own past. It has certainly forgotten its own 
history ; to an extent utterly unprecedented by any Western 
race which ever had such a story of glory by land and sea to 
tell. It is not only the Sacred Histories which men doubt 
of: though it is about them only, from their paramount 
importance, that men express their doubts. On secular 
history their minds are quiescent, and rest in the scepticism 
of oblivion. Almost everybody has read the history of 
England, to a certain extent, in his youth ; and everybody, 
without exception, may be supposed to have read the 'Arabian 
Nights ' and ' Robinson Crusoe.' And most men in English 
middle life, if they examined their own minds, and told us 



28 INTRODUCTION. 

the results ' sans phrase,' would confess that the three histories 
in question seem about equally real to them. One main 
reason is, that the fictions are probably associated in their 
minds with illustrative pictures, while the true histories are 
not. Perhaps any of us have had in the imaginations of our 
childhood a better idea of what a genie may be like than we 
ever had or shall have of what an English archer of Crecy or 
Agincourt really was like : and it is on representations of the 
ordinary facts of history that popular Historical Art, such as 
Messrs. Watts and Armitage propose for us, will take its 
stand. They have shewn that it is practicable : our own 
concern with it is, that of all means of general education, it 
is easiest and most elevating. The most careless eyes are 
daily opening more widely to the necessity of rinding some 
means of raising the hearts and spirits of those who suffer 
morally by continual labour of trade or production. It is 
felt more and more how grievously the worlds of Thought 
and Feeling are closed to so many of the middle and lower 
classes, who live stupified between gain, labour, and want, 
without fault of their own. No means of instruction should 
be neglected ; and to instruct laborious, distracted, or de- 
pressed people, one must take the easiest means, or none 
means, if possible, which are pleasant and interesting to use. 

We have tried to point to the study of Pictorial Art as a 
means of popular education in two ways : by its practical 
training, and by it results ; by the interest, the enjoyment, 
and the mental and spiritual development it affords, when 
studied for its own sake ; or even when used, among other 
means of education, for training of mind, hand, and eye. 
Further, we have pointed, on better authority than our own, 
to the way in which works done by ordinarily good students 
of Art may react on education ; shewing that people really 
can be informed by means of the imagination through the 
eye, by pictures which consist of painted symbols, indepen- 
dently of books which consist of written symbols : and we 
have said something of the need of such teaching in our own 
time. We do not describe the indescribable, and consequently 
we have nothing to say, after all, of the real delight of the 
pursuit of Truth and Beauty ; that is to say, of the effort to 






THOUGHT THROUGH THE EYE. 29 



set on canvas or paper some true and beautiful image of one's 
own. Perhaps it is not a delight, but an effort : at all events, 
he who has once had any share of success in it will hardly 
give up the thought of more. True observers and imitators 
are like Tennyson's enchanted crew : they cannot exactly 
say what they follow; or they will not commit themselves 
before men whose wit is too trenchant for them ; or they 
scorn to speak except by deeds. They are a taciturn or 
incoherent body. 

'But each man murmurs, O my Queen, 
I follow, till I make thee mine.' 

And sometimes they keep their word. 



CHAPTER III. 

HISTORICAL. 
I. 

EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. 

A REGULAR History of Art must, we suppose, be always 
-i\- in danger of becoming an immense series of biographies. 
It has been said of all history, that it consists of the lives of 
the great men who have moulded the destinies of mankind, 
and have, so to speak, made and modified the course of 
events. Whatever may be said in favour of this view of the 
records of mankind in general, human progress in Art is 
evidently marked by the names, and dependent on the 
thoughts, of the great painters or sculptors who have arisen 
at different periods. Their influence over men is more subtle 
and lasting than the rule of kings or tetrarchs, and their 
special characteristics are of more importance to the Art- 
historian. But in a small volume intended for practical 
purposes it is quite impossible to give an abridgment of 
Vasari ; and the only names we can mention are those of 
men who may be said to survive, in their principles and 
followers, to the present day. At the same time there are 
tracts of the history of Art which are, so to speak, unmarked 
by great names, but which are of the greatest importance to 
both painters and critics, because they indicate national or 
hereditary character rather than individual genius. It would 
not add much to the value of the carvings in S. Ambrogio 
at Milan, or San Zenone at Verona, if we knew the rough 
Lombard names of their designers. Yet they are the most 
important monuments in existence of the early artistic or 
representative energy of the Gothic mind. The fact that all 
the paintings and bas-reliefs of the Catacombs are the work 
of hands unknown and unthought of, adds not a little to 



BEAUTY BY ANALOGY. 31 

their impressiveness. These are the beginnings of Christian 
Art, Gothic and Roman ; the Gothic Schools of course 
deriving much from Greek or Italian instructors, but having 
a life and energy of their own, which soon carried them to a 
level with their masters in skill of execution, while from the 
first they had been greatly superior in power and ability of 
conception. 

Christian Art we describe as the Art of Christian men ; 
Art itself we define as the pursuit of Beauty and of Truth, or 
that continued attempt to express and produce and multiply 
ideas of Truth and Beauty which seems to be natural to all 
well-developed races of men. The representative Arts of 
Painting and Sculpture produce true ideas, with the adjunct 
of Beauty, by lines and colours. Poetry creates them by 
means of words, which are invested with what we call Beauty 
by analogy. The term Beauty may be applied, by nearer or 
more distant analogies, to anything which is well-developed, 
complete, or excellent in its kind. Pug-dogs are capable of 
perfection, and a sort of charm attaches to various kinds of 
china. ' Surgeons,' says De Quincey, ' may speak of a 
beautiful cut, or a beautiful ulcer, superbly defined and 
running regularly through all its stages ;' and he himself, 
with immense humour, investigates the aesthetic perfections of 
Murder ' considered as one of the Fine Arts.' 

But to whatever subject the term Beauty may be applied, 
properly or improperly, we deal only with the history of those 
who have practically tried to produce something beautiful to 
the sight in a creative way : these are painters and sculptors. 
A history of the analytic pursuit of the right definition of 
Beauty, or of the right way of accounting for it, would lead 
into a series of the most difficult metaphysical discussions 
that have ever been recorded, from Plato to M. Jouffroy. 

Creative, or practical, Art begins with Egypt and Assyria, 
though the name which marks its speedy rise to what is in 
many respects its greatest height, is that of Phidias, the friend 
of Pericles and of ^Eschylus. However derived from their 
first sources on the Nile and the Euphrates, our technical, 
knowledge, and many of our inspirations in Drawing, Carving 
and Colour, come to us from Greece through Rome. Our 



32 HISTORICAL. 

history of Art here means the history of that kind of Art 
which we ought to pursue ourselves, or rather of the highest 
and best and most progressive lines of Art-work which are 
now possible for us to pursue. Practically, as will be seen in 
our Second Part, all elementary instruction centres in the 
correct drawing of the human figure : and as the Greek 
exemplars of the form of man and woman are never likely to 
be superseded or dispensed with, the Art-training of our own 
days is derived from Phidias absolutely. But the impulse to 
the pursuit of Art, the painter's temperament in our own 
days, is not derived from the study of ancient models, so 
much as from the love of Nature. The keenest student 
still knows in his heart, or remembers a time when he felt, 
that it is pleasanter to draw leaves or flowers than casts of 
statues. Goethe's failures were caused, in all probability, by 
his having betaken himself to academical study, rather than 
to the attempt to make records of that natural beauty of 
which his mind was full. And some comparison of the two 
forms and systems of Art, Conventional or Neo-Greek, Greek 
and Gothic, is necessary to the sketch we are undertaking \ 

The Teutonic or Western races received instruction from 
the Eastern (the Greeks having the roots of their learning 
struck in Egypt and Assyria) through two Renaissances, 
Recoveries, or Rediscoveries of ancient knowledge of works of 
beauty. The first of these, which was purely Christian, may 
be called the Byzantine Renaissance. It may be said to have 
been the gradual reproduction and progressive imitation of 
such means and works of Art as had been preserved in 
convents, catacombs, sacred MSS., and elsewhere, during the 
long desolations of Greece and Italy, when the whole civiliza- 
tion of the old races perished with the later Empire. And as 
the principal refuge for those who kept some traditions of the 
painter's knowledge was at the centre of the surviving Eastern 
Empire of Rome, the School of Art so preserved was called 
Byzantine, or of Constantinople, when it revived again in 
Italy. ' The early and total decay of Art,' says the Marquis 

1 Ancient Greek or Attic Art is based on the study and love of Nature quite as 
much as that of the earlier or Gothic-Renaissance schools, in Italy or North of 
the Alps. 



EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. 



33 



of Lothian, ' seems to have followed that of the Roman 
Empire in Italy at the distance of about fifty years ; and 
there came a time, at the close of the sixth century, when the 
lamp of Art seemed to have entirely gone out. It had been 
kept up by the Church long after the Empire had fallen. 
The requirements of religion for churches, baptisteries, &c., 
which the old temples could not satisfy, gave birth to some- 
what of a new order of architecture, and painting and 
sculpture were supplied with a new class of subjects, and 
animated with a new spirit.' Some late discoveries 1 in the 
Roman Catacombs illustrate the latter part of this observa- 
tion very remarkably. Not only were Christian painters 
filled with a new energy in the desire to dedicate their Art to 
the Faith, but they seem to have struck out new lines of 
thought, in representing the myths of the earlier days as 
symbolical of the events of the Gospel history. They made 
use, without scruple or ceremony, of Pagan emblems in aid of 
Christian symbolism. They knew by their own memories that 
other men's were pre-occupied by .the old myths ; and their 
new-found faith might rule their wills and hopes, but did not 
erase the recollections of their childhood ; nor did they feel 
anxious that it should, or less Christians in heart if it did not. 
For aught we know, men like St. Paul may have seen in 
the heroic legends a kind of witness to the heathen of God's 
care for them. But that Christian painters copied or used 
remembrances of Pagan figures for Christian purposes there 
can be no doubt. They sought by every means to set before 
men's eyes the facts of the faith or the images of its 
founders ; and they did their best, calling all means to their 
aid. They used Pagan emblems and ideals as freely as they 
used Pagan paint and brushes. M. Raoul Rochette instances 
a figure of the Madonna, from a very early sarcophagus, 
much superior, as a work of Art, to Christian paintings of the 

1 By De Rossi. The works of Raoul Rochette and Didron are well known. 
For other authorities, see an Article in the Contemporary Review, vol. iii. p. 153, 
by Mr. Hemans. Mr. J. H. Parker's Photographs are the final authority for the 
catacomb paintings, and many mosaics and sarcophagi; as they are perfectly 
faithful transcripts of the documents in their present state. See Martigny's 
Dictionnaire des Antiquite's Chretiennes; and Art-Teaching of the Primitive 
Church, by the Author. S. P. C. K., 1874. 

D 



34 HISTORICAL. 

same date. It so closely resembles some ancient figures of 
Penelope, as to seem almost taken from them. The earlier 
Christian work seems to have been the work of men desirous 
to make progress. They not only dedicated their labour in 
the spirit of the believer, but sought to make it ever more and 
more worthy of dedication in itself, in the spirit of the artist. 
Whether Christian artists looked on the tales of Deucalion 
and Hercules as foreshadowings of the truth in heathen 
minds, or not, they made use of them. The pictures of Noah 
in the Catacombs present an exact analogy with medals of 
Septimius Severus, stamped with the deluge of Deucalion. 
The history of Jonah is perhaps the most frequently chosen 
subject of all the types of the Old Testament. No doubt our 
Lord's reference to it, as a type of the Resurrection, accounts 
for this. But the history and its representations are strangely 
connected with those of Hercules, and Jason, Hesione, and 
Andromeda. Of these fables, the last in particular had for its 
scene the coast and city of Joppa, and was thus on common 
ground with Jonah's history. Those who were actually under 
persecution and in danger of life seem to have had no scruple 
in adapting the ideals and emblems of well-taught Paganism, 
the better to represent the actual deeds of saints and prophets, 
and the facts of Holy Scripture. Such emblems and myths 
were matters of Art, and part of the painter's stock-in-trade : 
and, all Christian as he was, he used them like the tools of 
his craft 1 . 

As has been implied, in the present attempt of Art-history, 
we are only trying to give a sketch of the successive appli- 
cations of Painting to its highest function of instruction, and 
of the effects produced by some of the great men who have 
advanced it by their personal genius, and guided their suc- 
cessors in its pursuit. Now Modern Art, chronologically at 
least, begins with Christian Art, and we find sculpture and 
painting specially applied to religious instruction from the 
very first ; religious instruction forming the chief part of 
education. We may suppose, of course, that Art was used in 

1 It should not be forgotten that in the earliest days of the Christian Church all 
Greek and Italian rooms were more or less ornamented with painting or bas- 
relief ; so that almost every Christian congregation must have been accustomed to 
decoration in its places of worship. 



^LATER ASCETICISM. 35 

the same way for all manner of record and teaching: but all 
Art, from the time of Egypt and Assyria, has consisted mainly 
in either historical or symbolic representations of the spiritual 
history and relations of man ; and the temples of man's worship 
have always been the centres of sculpture and colour. 

Before great names were known in Christian Art, we find it 
used either to teach the history of the Faith and of man, 
either by direct representation, or by symbolic representation. 
And we look upon Art as a means of teaching and part of 
right education at this day, and think that its old and 
continually employed way of instruction by fresco ought to be 
revived. So that it is part of our purpose to call attention to 
the frank realism and naturalism, and free use of all attainable 
means of Art-teaching, which are found from the very 
beginnings of Christian work. The relics of two such 
beginnings are partly preserved for us : one, the work of the 
Catacombs and early Christian sepulchres ; the other, the 
first productions of Gothic or Northern hands in Lombard 
churches. In both of them, as is usual, sculpture was in 
advance of painting, its early stages being easier than those 
of painting, and its materials rougher and more permanent. 
Some of the earliest Lombard carvings in S. Ambrogio at 
Milan are, indeed, as Mr. Ruskin has called them, drawings 
in marble, depending on deeply-cut outlines : just as in the 
far-distant ages, Egyptian sculpture owes so much of its 
power to extraordinary .skill in outline form ; while the 
shallow cutting and consequent solidity of its bas-reliefs make 
them almost imperishable. 

The reasons are obvious why Christian Art, as early as 
the fourth and fifth centuries, was beginning to assume a 
religious aspect in the narrower sense of the term religious, 
that is to say, in the conventual or ascetic sense. The 
whole Church, the whole Christian mind, was taking an 
ascetic form, under stress of persecution without and cor- 
ruption within. Mr. Lecky describes the change of Christian 
Art from its more cheerful to its severer phrases, though he 
places the time of the completed modification as late as the 
tenth century. He speaks of the cheerfulness of early 
Christian Art as follows : 

D 2 



36 HISTORICAL. 

' The places that were decorated were the Catacombs ; the chapels were all 
surrounded by the dead ; the altar upon which the sacred mysteries were 
celebrated was the tomb of a martyr ... it would seem but natural that the 
great and terrible scenes of Christian vengeance should be depicted. Yet nothing 
of this kind appears in the Catacombs ; with two doubtful exceptions, there are no 
representations of martyrdoms. Daniel unarmed amid the lions, the unac- 
complished sacrifice of Isaac, the three children unscathed among the flames, and 
St. Peter led to prison, are the only images that reveal the horrible persecution 
that was raging. There was no disposition to perpetuate forms of suffering ; no 
ebullition of bitterness or complaint ; no thirsting for vengeance. Neither the 
Crucifixion, nor any of the scenes of the Passion, were ever represented ; nor was 
the Day of Judgment ; nor were the sufferings of the lost. The wreaths of flowers, 
in which Paganism delighted, and even some of the more joyous images of the Pagan 
mythology, were still retained, and were mingled with all the most beautiful em- 
blems of Christian hope, and with representations of many of the miracles of mercy. 

' After the tenth century,' he says, ' the Good Shepherd, which adorns almost 
every chapel in the Catacombs, is no more seen ; the miracles of mercy cease to 
be represented, and are replaced by the details of the Passion, and the terrors of 
the Last Judgment. The countenance of Christ became sterner, older, and more 
mournful. About the twelfth century this change becomes almost universal. 
From this period, writes one of the most learned of modern archaeologists, Christ 
appears more and more melancholy, and often truly terrible. It is indeed the Rex 
tremendse majestatis of our Dies Irse.' 

This seems to require some partial imitations. All is 
perfectly true as to the more cheerful and hopeful purport of 
the earlier decorations of the Catacombs ; executed as they 
were by men under no conventual vows, and before corruption 
within the Church and wide national ruin had been added to 
external persecution. But the effect on religious Art of the 
monastic view of life must have begun to be perceptible very 
soon after the establishment of the earliest convents in Egypt 
and the East. Indeed, and specially as to representations of 
our Lord, very early Byzantine pictures of Him convey a 
strong impression of melancholy and even severity 1 . The 
view taken of Him by Eastern Art was very early the view of 
the Eastern Anchorite. This may be proved at Venice, the 
meeting-place of the East and West for many successive 
centuries. Torcello, the mother city, still retains the ancient 
Mosaic of its Duomo : and neither that building nor its 
original ornaments can be of much later date than the first 
settlement of the people of Altinum in the islands of the 

1 The still earlier Grseco-Roman ideals of His bodily form are often very 
beautiful, with avowed effort to represent Him as fairest of all men. See Art- 
Teaching of the Primitive Church,' by the Author. 8vo., 1874. S. P. C. K. Also 
Martigny's Dictionary. 



EARLY RENAISSANCE. 37 

Lagune, on the destruction of that city, with Aquileia and 
Padua, by Attila in 45 a 1 . The Last Judgment' of Torcello 
will be familiar to ma.ny travellers ; and its strange represen- 
tation of the Lake of Fire, as a red stream proceeding from 
under the throne of the Judge, is a terrible image which 
points onwards to the tremendous imagination of Orcagna, 
the Dante of Painting. Byzantine Art, as has been said, is 
always touched with the spirit of Eastern asceticism, and the 
same traditional features and treatment may be seen to this 
day in the mosaics of Mount Sinai, which date from Jus- 
tinian 2 , as in the perhaps yet older works of Torcello. The 
first restoration of Art to Italy may be said to date from the 
conquests of Belisarius ; and it has influenced Cimabue and 
Angelico, Francia and Perugino, and the early mind of 
Rafael. It seems to be from the first the work of men, who 
were conscious of great and deserved punishment in this 
world, yet were appealing against the reign of earthly evil ; 
and its typical figure is, perhaps, the Murano mosaic of ' the 
sad Madonna, her tears falling as her hands are raised to 
bless 3 .' From the ashes of the Empire sprang the first faint 
' Renaissance ' of painting in the Western World preceded 
by that architecture which sprang into its chief glory at Pisa, 
as soon as Teutonic pupils were found capable of doing 
justice to their own sense of beauty, first under Byzantine 
guidance, then from the recovered exemplaria of ancient 
Greece. ' As architecture was the Art which last retained its 
vitality,' says Lord Lothian, ' so it was the first to rise to a 
new life. As early as the ninth and tenth centuries, the forms 
of Rome and Byzantium, fused together, and touched with 
the spirit of the Teutonic nations, gave rise to a new style. 
About A.D. 1050 the Pisan fleet took Palermo. With their 
spoil they resolved to build a cathedral worthy of the State 
and the occasion. Buschetto was their architect, and his work 
stands yet unchanged.' Within the walls of the Campo 
Santo the bones of crusaders rest in the soil they won. 
They brought the sacred earth of Jerusalem in their galleys 

1 Gibbon, vol. iii. 274, Milman. The date of the present building is, however, 
very uncertain. 

2 Began to reign A.D. 527. The Stones of Venice, vol. ii. 2. 



3 8 HISTORICAL. 

year by year, to make therein their place of rest ; 
eXiras fKpv\}rev\ as the Trojan soil hides Achilles. Round 
them stand their cathedral and their baptistery, and the 
leaning Campanile : and on the walls which surround their 
graves are the frescoes of Giotto, and Orcagna, and Benozzo 
Gozzoli. In Venice only, if anywhere, are such treasures of 
beauty and such a mine of study for artist or historian to be 
found within the same space : and the painter who goes to 
learn his work at Florence will do well to stay and labour 
long at Pisa on his way. 

Byzantine Art culminates, in a sense, at Pisa. It still 
survives in Greek convents, from Athos to Sinai and Mar 
Saba 2 ; but we cannot seek it there, and must proceed to 
the second early revival of Art, in the original work of 
Teutonic hands. The first Christian Art had to expire with 
the ancient civilization, which even the Faith could not keep 
alive. Its faint relics remained in Byzantine temples, and 
we have to see what its traditions could do when they in- 
spired or guided younger races in later and better days. 
The actual origin of Modern Art is to be seen in such 
churches as San Zenone and San Fermo at Verona, or in 
S. Ambrogio at Milan, or San Michele at Lucca. In these 
and other like churches are seen the beginnings of Realist 
Art ; which does not mean, as people generally misunder- 
stand the terms, Art applied to vulgar and every-day subject, 
but Art striving to represent a thing as it really is ; as the 
painter's mind sees it to be, through the eye or by inner 
vision; as he is persuaded that it is, in its essence and' 
nature. In these sculptures all the work is very imperfect 
in the technical point of view ; and, consequently, wherever 
lofty or impressive subject is attempted, they become what is 
called grotesque. We shall have to go into the various mean- 
ings of this word, and the explanations to which it leads. For 
the present, let us say a subject may be grotesque by reason 
of the oddity of the subject chosen, or by reason of either or 
both of two imperfections of the artist's mind at the time. 

1 jEsch. Ag. 455, Bind. 

2 See Curzon's ' Monasteries of the Levant,' and the Rev. H. F. Tozer's Paper in 
Vacation Tourists;' and especially ' The Stones of Venice,' vol. ii. 



THE GROTESQUE. 39 

1. Grotesqueness may depend on want of technical skill, 
or sheer lack of human power. Some subjects cannot be 
adequately represented, and attempts to do them justice 
involve either a certain amount of failure ; or the use of 
symbolism, which confesses imperfection in man's power of 
conception. Thus, to take Mr. Ruskin's example, nearly all 
the visions and dreams in Holy Scripture, as those of Jacob 
and Nebuchadnezzar, are grotesques. 

2. A man may choose to look at his subject on its comic 
side, supposing it to have one ; or he can only dwell on it in 
a half-attentive, ironical, or humorous way ; or his mind has 
an affinity for humorous or quaintly contrasted subject. Or 
he is only capable of looking at things on their comic side. 
In the first cases, his work belongs to the grotesque of 
caricature ; in the second, it is the high grotesque of Diirer, 
or the realism of Hogarth ; in the third, he is a buffoon, and 
his work demands no attention from us. 

But we have here only to notice that the beginnings of 
Realist Art were grotesque of a Dureresque, or Serio-quaint 
character. Eve and the Serpent in S. Ambrogio, or Herodias' 
daughter, not only dancing, but turning somersaults before 
Herod, are exceedingly odd in their appearance to any one 
who is accustomed to modern technical skill ; still they are not 
comic in intention, but faithful attempts to represent facts 
believed heartily by the workman. For a principal feature 
of Gothic Art from the first is its Realism. That is to say, 
all Gothic workmen from the first wished, as they would pro- 
bably have put it, to draw or carve everything as like the real 
thing as possible. When the real thing was invisible, as in a 
representation of a past event, the Gothic workman found 
out what it was like, if he could ; or else strove with all his 
soul to form an idea of it. Also he turned away from 
nothing : his aims were universal. The carvers of the Lom- 
bard churches, who did the earliest work we possess, seem 
to have wished to represent simply everything. And as 
Christianity took possession of their minds, they learned to 
dedicate all their early skill, and to illustrate all their lives 
and thoughts, by the carvings of their churches. They wrote 
there their thoughts of the history and hope of all men, and 



40 HISTORICAL. 

also their own ways and crafts, and battles and huntings : and 
also indulged their imaginations with all kinds of higher 
symbolisms, and their fancy with all kinds of sportive and 
eccentric combination. The germ of this is seen in the 
paintings of the Catacombs, though the conventual or ascetic 
change passed over Art so entirely, in the ages which inter- 
vened between the one class of works and the other. De 
Rossi says of the earlier works : ' fe uno fatto che ho cos- 
tantemente notato nei sotteranei cemeteri, avere i Cristiani 
nei primi scuoli . . . imagine del cielo cosmico, o scene di 
pastorizia, de agricoltura, di cacce, di giuochi. . . . Obvio e 
notissimo e il senso parabolico dato dei Cristiani alle scene 
pastorali e d'agricoltura, alle personificazione delle stagioni, 
ai delfini e mostri marini nuotante nelle onde.' 

Thus such works as the representations and personifications 
of months and seasons, and the labours of men, in St. Mark's 
and the Ducal Palace at Venice, are connected with the very 
first efforts of Christian Art ; and the great Realist principle 
is asserted, of seeing serious and sacred meaning in necessary 
daily things l . In early days, and up to the later Renaissance, 
to the middle period of Rafael's life, there was no specially 
sacred Art, for all Art was held sacred. Men indulged their 
passionate fancy, or took their rest in allegorical subject, in 
sporting with the grotesque, in sketching, and slighter work ; 
but all their serious works and best efforts went into sub- 
jects connected with their Faith. But to speak of Sacred 
Art is to enter on the subject of religious and other sym- 
bolism ; and the term grotesque, as has already been shewn, 
extends over vast divisions of Art-work through all the 
modern ages. It applies less widely to painting, of course, 
than to illumination or decorative sculpture used for archi- 
tectural ornament. Much good grotesque has been done, 
since the invention of printing, in steel or wood engraving. 

1 The author has endeavoured to follow some of the earliest Christian subjects 
of fresco or bas-relief through their Lombard treatment into mediaeval art, and to 
shew that they very frequently represent the typical persons and events of the Old 
Testament. Their transition as Art, from Graeco-Roman to Gothic, is one of the 
subjects of Prof. Ruskin's Oxford Lectures. See Aratra Pentelici and Val d'Amo. 
Also Lectures on Christian Symbolism, &c., by the Author. (Smith and Elder), 
1872; and Art-Teaching of the Primitive Church. 1874. 



EARLY REALISM. 41 

All beginnings are humble, or they ought to be. But the 
first principles and practice of the study of Art given in this 
book, will, it is hoped, if properly used, give the student 
means of entering fairly on the pursuit of Realist Art, that 
is to say, of drawing things which he sees, as he sees them. 
If he advance no further than still life, or slight landscape, 
his time will be well spent if he learns to work in either well. 
If he has inventive genius, or that power of memory and of 
rearranging its images which is called Composition, and 
which is closely akin to Invention, he may, we trust, still 
find that the rules here given him may enable him to develop 
his own powers. But all stands in faithful study of Nature 
from the first, and we have thought it worth while to notice 
how early a thing the choice of natural subject really is, even 
in works intended to adorn sacred things and places. 



II. 

SYMBOLISM AND THE GROTESQUE. 

THE subjects of symbolism and the grotesque in Art 
are very closely connected, and appear to have been 
so from the earliest periods, that is to say, since language 
was first expressed in visible tokens. A symbol may be 
defined as a sign, token, or ticket, representing something 
not producible to the senses at a given moment. Words are 
defined by logicians as signs of things, or signs of ideas : 
however, they are held to represent things and ideas in a 
different way. The word, or spoken noun-substantive, first 
declares or makes known that the speaker is thinking about 
an object, and then takes the place of that object in his con- 
versation. In speaking he appeals to the sense of hearing. 
He may appeal to that of sight, if he will. He may write 
a document describing circumstances in visible letters. He 
may make some visible sign or gesture without speaking. 
Nor is oral communication always the most effective of the 
three methods. It is perfectly well understood that many 
kinds of business where precision is required are best trans- 
acted on paper by letter-symbols ; and mere gesture is of 
considerable import as an artful, or only a highly intelligent, 
person may intensify, or modify, or altogether reverse the 
meaning of what he says by his manner, or some studied 
bodily movement. As Mr. Dickens says, in Naples the im- 
portant business of personal abuse is carried on by signs, and 
the Lazzaroni experience what Tennyson calls 'the delight 
of low replies' entirely without speaking. 'A man raises 
two fingers in the air to represent asses' ears ; whereby his 
antagonist is driven to madness 1 .' Obviously the sense of 
sight conveys sufficiently vivid ideas to the brain through 

1 ' Pictures from Italy,' p. 284. Chapman and Hall. 1867. 



HIEROGLYPHICS. 43 

letter-symbols, symbolic actions, or otherwise. What we 
have first to notice is the relation between phonetic symbols 
(or letters, or alphabetic symbols) and pictorial symbols, 
which latter include all representative Art, from the rudest 
hieroglyphics to the frescoes of the Vatican. It is not that 
the hieroglyphic has a right to be spoken of as Art : but as 
hieroglyphic is necessarily connected with the origin of Art 
and of letters, it is best to give a little time to tracing that 
original connexion. 

Signs of things, to go back to our first part of logic, are 
either manifestative or vicarious ; they either represent their 
object like pictures, or stand instead of it like words. A 
bunch of grapes at a house-door, an optician's spectacles, or 
a goldbeater's hammer, represent the business done within 
symbolically the gladiatorial pictures outside the taverns 
of Pompeii represented the favourites of the arena simply. 
These are manifestative signs : but a five-pound-note takes 
the place of five sovereigns vicariously. Words, as we have 
said, are vicarious signs of things, but they represent, mani- 
fest, or indicate ideas, or the presence of conceptions in the 
speaker's mind. When I name an ox I indicate that I am 
thinking about one, and the word takes the place of the 
quadruped. Now, there was a time when the picture of the 
ox held the place of the word written ; and was the only 
representative sign. This is the first stage of hieroglyphics, 
or picture-alphabets, which were the origin of all writing by 
letters or phonetic signs, and may be traced in the three first 
letters of the Hebrew alphabet very easily. Thus 

N Aleph, ox or bull, was evidently by origin ""n, repre- 
senting that animal with exaggerated horns. 

3, Beth, house or booth, speaks for itself. 

H ^ Gimel (Gamal), camel, indicates the head, and long 
neck, of the camel 1 , which are its principal points as seen in the 
desert at a distance, as the present writer has often observed. 
The foreleg is also marked. 

Of course, as ideas multiply and language grows more 
copious, picture-hieroglyphics fall short, and some more pliant 

1 The dromedary's trot throws forward his forelegs horizontally in the most 
extraordinary manner, but the reclining camel gives the best type of the letter. 



44 HISTORICAL. 

and generally applicable medium of expression is wanted. 
This leads to the gradual change of the hieroglyphic, which 
more or less resembles the object, into phonetic letters, which 
neither resemble it nor are meant to do so. That change 
takes place as follows. The hieroglyphic is taken to stand 
everywhere for the initial sound of the spoken word, which 
already represents the thing and passes for it in conversation. 
D, stands henceforth for ever for B, the initial sound of the 
articulate word Beth ; 3 for G, initial sound of the articulate 
word Gimel, &c. &c. Hence phonetic letters, which resemble 
the sounds, fytovai, come to be used instead of written pictures 
which resemble things. Hence the phonetic letters can of 
course be used over again to construct other words and 
names, and are much reduced in number. Hieroglyphics 
may also be taken symbolically in second and third meanings, 
as appears from Champollion ; but we have no means of 
knowing how rapidly, or with what precision, ideas could be 
exchanged by such means. It would seem that the symbolic 
use of hieroglyphic picture-signs was more easy and pliable 
than may at first appear, as we are assured by Professor 
Rawlinson that it was not abandoned in Egypt till Christi- 
anity introduced the Coptic a purely alphabetic compound 
of Greek and Egyptian character. 

One reason for this was, no doubt, the extraordinary power 
of expressive outline so early attained in Egypt. Properly 
speaking, there is no archaic Egyptian Art- work. The Helio- 
politan obelisk, and some of the great sandstone tablets 1 
which are cut in the rocks of Wady Mughara in the Sinai 
Desert, are supposed to be of the very earliest times of 
Egyptian Art : the latter are coeval with the Pyramids. For 
characteristic form they are unsurpassed anywhere. 

4 They are good work of the oldest known school on this earth, and there are 
the same unsurpassed and hardly equalled outlines which one notices on the 
obelisk of Heliopolis and this was a century old in the days of Joseph. The 
drawing of the hawks, quails, and other birds, is admirable : outline, and shallow 
relief, can do no more. The hawks are hawk-like to a degree ; the owls are more 
owlish and the snakes are more venomous than any I ever saw. The cobra is cut 
to a miracle, and the partridges run just as they will run before your camel in the 

1 A fifth is in phonetic characters. These tablets and others have been photo- 
graphed very skilfully by the late Sinai Survey. See their volumes. 



DIVERGING? PROGRESS OF HIEROGLYPHICS. 45 

desert ; and exactly such cobras may you see any day, dancing on their tails in 
front of Shepherd's Hotel, before some half-naked Arab charming wisely V 

It will be seen that the progress from hieroglyphic to 
phonetic writing is one of conventionality : the earliest sign 
was like its object, as a picture, the perfected letter is like 
nothing on earth : the one appealed to the senses with the 
intellect, the other calls upon the intellect alone. Such is 
progress towards letters, or literature, or exchange of thought 
in written language. There may be an analogous advance of 
the rude original picture ; which may become less and less 
conventional, and more and more like what it stands for in 
the mind, until strong resemblance is attained, and Realist 
Art is established. But letters and Realist Art arise together 
in the infancy of human expression. Again, it is the infancy, 
or let us rather say the imperfection, of man's power of 
expressing the thought which is in him, which is the chief 
cause of the use of symbolism everywhere. It is employed 
alike in speaking, writing, and painting. All who are accus- 
tomed to teaching can tell us the value of simile, especially 
in elementary instruction. They well know what numbers 
of trite comparisons, and cut-and-dry illustrations, they are 
obliged to keep by them as stock-in-trade. It is remarked, 
again, how great use is made by savage orators of trope and 
figure ; and civilized people who are unaccustomed to express 
themselves, or are uneducated, or happen to be dealing with 
matters which they do not perfectly understand, are always 
having recourse to similes, if they have ingenuity enough to 
frame them. In short, symbolism is one great means of ex- 
pressing imperfect thought or incomplete conception. It is 
virtually an appeal from one mind to another for assistance or 
fellowship : the speaker confesses himself unable to unwind 
a length of thread, and tries to throw the ball over to his 
friend that he may unravel some more. This gives us a 
definition of symbolism the attempt to suggest higher, 
wider, deeper or more complicated ideas by the use of others 
which are simpler and more familiar. Hence comes the 
necessary connexion between symbolism and the grotesque. 

1 Article on Sinai, ' Vacation Tourists,' 1862. (Macmillan.) See also Raw- 
linson's Herodotus, App. Book II. (vol. ii.) 



46 HISTORICAL. 

Symbolic expression (especially by painting and sculpture) 
confesses imperfection and inability, and imperfection and 
inability are almost always grotesque, in the popular sense 
of the word \ At all events, contrast of the sublime and its 
contrary, and of higher and lower forms of nature, has a 
great deal to do with the grotesque ; as has also the contrast 
of humanity in its loftier, or in its more ignoble conditions. 
But this subject would require a whole treatise on Humour, 
and its expression in the more serious Caricature. 

The symbolical attempt to represent subjects which are 
beyond the possibility of literal representation is almost in- 
variably odd or strange-looking. And the feeling of contrast 
between the greatness of the subject and the weakness or 
want of skill shewn by the artist is often amusing, though 
of course all minds, except those of the coarsest and most 
contemptible frame, will see and sympathize with keen or 
tumultuous feeling in the workman, and will understand that 
work may be ludicrous to a degree even because of its 
serious intention, and yet command respect from that 
quality, if it be pure and genuine. All the attempts made 
in early Art to represent the visions and the inconceivable 
events spoken of in Holy Scripture are grotesque ; because 
it is impossible to convey to the mind a real impression of 
what was seen in vision, or often of an event which actually 
happened. Pharaoh's dreams of the fat and lean kine and 
the full and blighted ears of wheat have been mentioned, 
as attempted in early Gothic Art. The result is literal 
grotesque. The well-known representation of the four 
Evangelists are symbolic grotesques. All early represen- 
tations of the Last Judgment, whether Gothic or Byzantine, 
are grotesque, from necessary inability to grapple with the 
subject. That of the Sistine is the Titanic grotesque of 
surpassing technical skill, and vigour of mind and mood, 
making a great attempt in its own strength, and succeeding 
at least in shewing its own power, and the tumultuous 

1 The word ' grotesque ' itself, we believe, is an Italian adjective of late origin, 
connected with the idea of caverns and hollows, in which ancient and strange 
sculptures may have been found. We are inclined to conjecture also that it is 
connected with the traditional shapes of Pan and the Fauns, and other cavern- 
haunting figures which combined and contrasted noble and ignoble forms. 



^CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS. 47 

emotions of one of the greatest men in dealing with an 
inconceivable subject. One picture, Tintoret's Last Judg- 
ment in the church of the Madonna delFOrto at Venice, 
may be said to stand before others in the vastness of its con- 
ception of a subject which no human imagination can really 
approach ; and we are at a loss how to characterize or 
classify it. We must leave the reader to Mr. Ruskin's 
great description of this work in the second volume of 
' Modern Painters ' and ask every traveller to verify it, 
while the canvas remains decipherable on the desolate wall 
of St. Mary of the Garden. 

Like all other human means of aspiration, Art is imperfect, 
and falls short, when it seeks its highest objects : and the 
artist may treat his admitted and necessary inability in one 
of two ways, when he has to express what is above him : as 
may also the writer who has to deal with ideas of the incom- 
prehensible. Either of them may try to realize the event or 
idea, owning his inability ; or may describe his imagination 
of it, confessing his weakness. Or he may use a purely 
symbolic and entirely conventional type of his thought in 
painting or in words. The name of God not being to be 
used without grave reason, we speak of Him as the Lord, 
or the Blessed Trinity, using a verbal symbol for ordinary pur- 
poses. In older religious painting and sculpture, His special 
Presence was always represented by the hand with fingers 
raised in blessing ; or later by the triangle, which points to 
the fundamental doctrine of the Faith. These are pictorial 
symbols in their earliest form ; distinguishable from hiero- 
glyphics by the fact that they do not originate from mere 
imitation of visible objects, and are not liable to lose their 
special significance and become mere letters. 

The earlier Christian symbols most in use were the Good 
Shepherd, which De Rossi considers the earliest of all ; 
also the Fish as typical of the Christian, one of the draught 
of the Church's net ; the Vine, Lamb, and Palm, and the 
Lion, Dragon, and Serpent. These are all Scriptural in their 
origin. Besides these, there are the early non-Scriptural 
emblems : the Fish as an anagram, for our Lord : the Ship 
of Souls, in emblematic painting and also in Church archi- 



4 8 



HISTORICAL. 



tecture, as at Torcello : the Dove, Anchor, and Lyre ; the 
Phoenix and Peacock. The Cross has been of course the 
emblem of all the Christian life and creed from the earliest 
times. These and many similar representations of symbolic 
persons and Old Testament events, as the history of Jonah 
and other prophets, make up the earlier range of Christian 
imagery, the fear of Gnosticism and of idolatry alike pre- 
venting much more ; though, as our quotations in the last 
Chapter prove, a much wider choice of subject was allowed 
for pastime, or indeed to adorn buildings or catacombs, 
and to accompany the more significant pictures. But these 
remnants of the skill and sense of beauty, which Christianity 
had inherited from Greece and Rome, either perished, or 
were preserved in convents and churches ; hence of course 
the not only Christian, but specially religious or ascetic form 




FIG. i. 



which the first revival of Art assumed. We have already 
spoken of that revival as the Byzantine Renaissance, for 



BYZANTINE AND GOTHIC WORK. 



49 



want of a better title, and mentioned that the name Byzan- 
tine probably dates from the partial recovery of Italy by 
Belisarius 1 . The architecture of Pisa combines Greek and 




FIG. 2. 

Teutonic elements, and the frescoes of Orcagna in the same 
place are impressed with the severity of Eastern thought. 
Torcello, Ravenna, and Rome are the principal seats of 
Byzantine mosaic. We are speaking, of course, of Italian 
remains only, acknowledging the importance of the re- 
maining decorations of St. Sophia, and of the curious mosaics 
or paintings at Mount Sinai, Mount Athos, and Mar Saba. 
Byzantine or Neo-Greek Art may be said to have been a 
sort of training-school for Gothic a school where Teutonic 

1 Or from the Iconoclastic movement of the seventh century. The ' Schola 
Grseca,' of mosaic at Rome seems to have arisen, or greatly increased, as monastic 
artists fled thither from Constantinople. 

E 



50 HISTORICAL. 

workmen learnt to read and write from Nature, and from 
which they broke away early, and with the assistance of 
Old Greek models ; yet not without good early lessons of 
energy, and often of devotion. There is a beautiful book by 
M. le Comte Bastard, called simply ' Peintures des Manuscrits,' 
published for the Bibliotheque Royale at Paris. It is a 
splendid set of copies of MSS. from the eighth century 
downwards ; and we have never before seen a series of ex- 
amples in which the origin and growth of Gothic Naturalism, 
out of the old stock of Roman or Byzantine work, can be 
so well traced. Some of the earliest eighth-century initial 
letters seem to be by Byzantine hands, and are strangely 
formed of birds, animals and fishes, quaintly arranged, as on 
old-fashioned dinner-plates, but without the least sense of 
Nature. That is the old conventional, and, in fact, degraded 
work, as in Fig. I '. 

Mr. Ruskin's more salient and piquant example must 
follow here, in contrast with the earliest pure Teutonic. 

FIG. 3. 
Angel from Psalter of eighth century, St. John's College, Cambridge. 

' You see the characteristics of this utterly dead school are, first, the wilful 
closing of its eyes to natural facts ; for however ignorant a person may be, he need 
only look at a human being to see that it has a 
mouth as well as eyes: and secondly, the endea- 
vour to adorn or idealize natural fact according to 
its own notions : it puts red spots in the middle of 
the hands and sharpens the thumbs, thinking to 
improve them. You will also admire the exquisite 
result of the application of our great architectural 
principle of beauty symmetry, or equal balance of 
part by part. You see even the eyes are made 
symmetrical entirely round instead of irregularly 
oval ; and the iris is set properly in the middle, 
instead of as nature has put it rather under the 
upper lid. You will also observe the " principle 
3- of the Pyramid" in the general arrangement of 

the figure, and the value of " series " in the placing of the dots. 

' From this dead barbarism we pass to living barbarism to work done by 
hands quite as rude, if not ruder, and by minds as uninformed : and yet work 

1 Fig. j. Byzantine Lion ; utterly unprogressive Art, though quaint. 
Fig. 2. No. 3. Prankish Warrior ; utterly uninstructed Art. 
No. 2. Lombard-Gothic Grotesque; observe the seat of the rider. 
No. 4. Cock, of advanced Realist character ; about fifty years later 
than No. 3. 




AND THE SERPENT. 51 

which in every line of it is prophetic of power, and has in it the sure dawn of day. 
You have often heard it said that Giotto was the founder of Art in Italy. He was 
not : neither he, nor Giunto Pisano, nor Niccolo Pisano. They all laid strong 
hands to the work, and brought it first into aspect above ground : but the 
foundation had been laid for them by the builders of the Lombardic churches in 
the valleys of the Adda and the Arno. It is in the sculpture of the round-arched 
churches of North Italy, bearing disputable dates ranging from the eighth to the 
twelfth century, that you will find the lowest-struck roots of the art of Titian and 

Rafael Remember, therefore, for a moment, as characteristic of 

culminating Italian Art, Michael Angelo's fresco of the Temptation of Eve, in the 
Sistine Chapel ; and you will be more interested in seeing the birth of Italian Art, 
illustrated by the same subject, from S. Ambrogio, of Milan, the Serpent 
beguiling Eve, Fig. 4. In that sketch, ludicrous as it is, you have the elements of 




FIG. 4. 

life in their first form. The people who could do that were sure to get on. For 
observe, the workman's whole aim is straight at the facts, as well as he can get 
them ; and not merely at the facts, but at the very heart of the facts. A common 
workman might have looked at nature for his serpent, but he would have thought 
only of his scales. But this fellow does not want scales, nor coils ; he can do 
without them : he wants the serpent's heart malice and insinuation ; and he has 
actually got them to some extent. So also a common workman, even in this 
barbarous stage of Art, might have carved Eve's arms and body a good deal 
better ; but this man does not care about arms and body, if he can only get at 
Eve's mind shew that she is pleased at being flattered, and yet in a state of 
uncomfortable hesitation. And some look of listening, of complacency, and of 
embarrassment, he has verily got : note the eyes slightly askance, the lips com- 
pressed, and the right hand nervously grasping the left arm. Nothing can be 
declared impossible to the people who can begin thus ; nothing is possible to the 
man who did the symmetrical angel.' 

But in Count Bastard's work * the change from the dying 
Byzantine to the new-born Lombard work is most interesting. 
There are plenty of nondescript beasts, but they have a life in 
them : there are riders (on horseback rarely, on the back of 
inconceivable monsters everywhere), and they who painted 

1 See pp. 64, 65. 
E 2 



52 HISTORICAL. 

them knew all which has to do with equitation. The seat of 
the quaint red and green riders in pointed basnets and mail- 
shirts is like that of the knights of Athens in the Elgin frieze. 
Then there are beasts of chase ; in short, Naturalism has 
fairly set in accompanied by a great deal of wildness and 
humour, and so much the more unlike the older Byzantine 
work which held such power over the minds of Giotto and 
Orcagna, and whose principal characteristic is ' dreadful 
earnestness. 5 

For where Byzantine work is grotesque, it is because men 
had -no better knowledge or power of drawing on walls or 
panels the great and awful subjects which filled and over- 
powered their minds. We have already quoted Mr. Lecky's 
important and valuable remarks on the increased severity of 
their work ; arising, as it did, from the depression of con- 
tinued suffering, and such views of the dreadful struggles of 
the times as men of a failing race might take, who saw no 
hope of victory in this world. Byzantine ornament is better 
named beautifully or grimly conventional, than grotesque. 

Now that our ornamental trades require constant supplies 
of models, it seems best that they should be sought in, or 
rather studied from, good examples of Byzantine work, such 
as are given in ' The Stones of Venice,' for instance. All 
admit that ornament should be conventionalized ; to a greater 
or a less degree, it is true ; but always in a marked manner : 
and the tendency of our artist-workmen is perhaps to attempt 
too direct copying from Nature in their carvings. ' It is not 
quite enough to stick two leaves together stalk to stalk and 
call it a pattern.' Power of composition may be shewn as much 
in ornamental design as in anything else, and though that 
power is to a great extent natural and innate, and though the 
words ' power of composition ' almost amount to an expres- 
sion for general artistic power ; still there is no doubt that 
study of good models will expand any kind or amount of 
natural gift quite indefinitely. 

As has been said, all Northern, or Gothic, or Teutonic 
work is grotesque in its early stages for two reasons, or for 
one of them. In the first place, the artist wished to represent 
almost everything he saw or thought of, and was unequal to 



HERALDIC SYMBOLISM. 53 

the task ; and in the second, he had a strong tendency to 
laugh at things, either with genuine enjoyment, or with 
bitterness. In other words, the naturalism and the humour 
of Gothic Art distinguishes it from Byzantine or earlier 
Christian work. Before we come to the times when men of 
great power, like Cimabue and Giotto, advanced Gothic 
Naturalism in its struggle with nature, to greater success in 
representation, so leading the way into actual realist Art, we 
have some further remarks to make on different uses of 
pictorial symbolism, which retain more or less interest or 
influence for our own days. 

i. Heraldic symbolism has little to do with modern Art, 
though its history is closely connected with that of the 
earliest works we know. Heraldry takes its origin from the 
first adoption by men of a symbol-picture, or hieroglyphic, to 
personify and represent themselves, or some part of themselves ; 
to indicate the qualities they admired, or conceived them- 
selves to possess. It was not material whether they attributed 
them to their gods or to themselves, since the gods of early and 
rude ages are always in great measure ideal representations of 
such human qualities or passions as men of an early period of 
thought most admired. The hawks and asps of Egypt are 
symbolic ideals ; still more remarkable, as such, are the 
Ninevite bulls and eagles: connected as they undoubtedly 
are with the typical cherubic forms which were permitted 
under the Jewish dispensation. These are related again to 
the Veronese griffins of San Fermo and San Zenone. There 
can be no doubt of the truth of Mr. Ruskin's view, that their 
sculptor's mind dwelt on the visions of Ezekiel and the Apo- 
calypse. And there is great interest in comparing his account 
of the typical griffins of Verona, with the able article by Dr. 
Henry Hay man in Smith's Dictionary, s.v. 'Cherub' so 
great that we cannot well avoid giving some parallel extracts 
from both writers. Mr. Ruskin's work is the earlier in point 
of time, but Mr. Hayman evidently has not referred to it, and 
the coincidences in their remarks are striking. ' On the 
whole,' says the latter writer, ' it seems likely that the word 
" cherub " meant not only the composite creature-form, of 
which the man, lion, ox, and eagle were the elements ; but, 



54 HISTORICAL. 

further, some peculiar and mystical form, which Ezekiel, being 
a priest, would know and recognize as " the face of a cherub," 
KaT' (goxriv, but which was kept secret from all others. . . . 
Such were probably those on the ark, (which, when moved, 
was always covered) though those on the hangings and 
panels might be of the popular device.' ' The griffin of 
northern fable watching the gold in the wilderness has been 
compared with the cherub, both as regards his composite 
form and his function as guardian of a treasure.' He goes on 
to point out the possible affinity between the Greek name 
ypvTr (ypity, gryps, griffin), and the Hebrew and Arabic 
derivation of the word ' cherub,' which gives it the original 
meaning of ' carved image,' and says, that though the exact 
form is uncertain, it must have borne a general resemblance 
to the composite religious figures found upon the monuments 
of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. 

Mr. Ruskin (in ' Modern Painters,' vol. iii. ch. 8) gives two 
examples of ancient and modern grotesque, to illustrate the 
absence and the presence of vivid imaginative power in an 
artist's mind. He chooses two ideals of the emblematic 
griffin, the classical and the Gothic : the former from the 
frieze of the Roman temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the 
latter from the front of the Duomo of Verona. His illustra- 
tions and his analysis of the two works, shew conclusively 
that the Lombard carving, though rough and imperfect, is 
full of meaning and expression, while the Roman is em- 
blematic of nothing, though very gracefully and skilfully 
composed, and unexceptionable as work of unmeaning 
ornament. He then points out that the Lombard carver was 
enabled to form so intense a conception mainly by the fact 
that his griffin is a great and profoundly-felt symbolism. 
Two wheels are under its eagle's wings, which connect it with 
the living creatures of the vision of Ezekiel. ' Where they 
went, the wheels went by them, and whithersoever the spirit 
was to go, they went, and the wheels were lifted up over 
against them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the 
wheels.' ' The winged shape thus becomes at once one of the 
acknowledged symbols of the divine power ; and in its unity 
of lion and eagle, the workmen of the middle ages always 



HERALDRY OF GREECE. 55 

meant to set forth the unity of the human and divine nature.' 
Elsewhere, we think in ' The Stones of Venice,' the connec- 
tion is pointed out between the Assyrian and the Gothic per- 
sonifications nor can any example be more complete, of 
parallelism in artistic work, used for its most solemn purpose. 
The presence of the cherubic form in the Temple points to a 
distinction we shall notice further on. The symbolic use of 
images of living creatures was permitted under the Mosaic 
dispensation in that instance. And on this will be found to 
turn the distinction between symbolic use of painting and 
sculpture in church architecture and decoration, and its 
forbidden and dangerous use, as a supposed means of 
assisting devotion. 

It is evident that personifications of this kind are the 
origin, first, of the heraldry of human war and power ; then of 
the higher symbolism of religious Art in all ages ; and 
finally, of such church decoration as some of us may yet hope 
to see carried out in our own. The earliest example of pure 
heraldry, or individual choice of a bearing or device, is pro- 
bably to be found in ^Eschylus's ' Septem contra Thebas.' 
Telamon and Capaneus each have their blazon, and this 
would seem to shew that ^Eschylus thought heraldry not 
inappropriate to the generation before the siege of Troy. 
We do not remember any heraldry in Homer : at least Priam's 
dialogue with Helen, when they look forth from above the 
Scaean gate 1 , would seem to prove that the chiefs of Achaia 
were not distinguished by their shields, or by any recogni- 
zance^ so as really to be known from afar ; for of course 
heraldry in its origin was a matter of warlike service, not of 
mere sport or pride. A man might choose a device for a 
tournament, and call himself the Knight of the Bleeding 
Heart, or Questing Beast, or Rueful Countenance: but in 
battle his retainers must ride under the banner of his house, 
and he would be known by his own cognizance ; by the 
crest on his helmet, and the rude pictures on his shield and 
surcoat, which all men knew belonged to his name, and indi- 
cated his presence ; which were just as much his property as 
his sword or his purse ; and which were a matter of military 

1 Horn. II. iii. 165 sqq. 



56 HISTORICAL. 

and public convenience to all men, friends and enemies. 
Both on the march and in line of battle it was highly neces- 
sary in the earlier days of personal prowess to see where each 
leader of men fought ; and that would be known by his 
broad banner or swallow-tailed pennon 1 . We have been of 
course anticipated in all this ; but it seems to prove that 
heraldry is really a post-Homeric institution. Perhaps the 
boast of the Epigoni, that they were far better men than their 
fathers, the heraldic Seven, who fell before Thebes, instead of 
taking her, may have influenced the besiegers of Troy-Town : 
in any case, whether it was Homeric or not, a heraldry 
exactly like that of the middle ages, and employed it would 
seem for exactly the same reasons, was a familiar idea to 
^Eschylus 2 . For Teutonic historical symbolisms, the red and 
the white dragon of Cymry and Saxon, the horse of Hengist, 
and above all the Danish Raven, the Landeyda or Ravager 
of the World, will be easily remembered 3 . The Dean of 
Westminster refers to Oreb and Zeeb, 'the Raven and the 
Wolf,' as a parallel example in the East ; and most visitors to 

1 See Marmion, Canto vi. 26 [a virtually parallel passage to that in the 
Iliad] : 

' At length the freshening western blast 
Aside the shroud of battle cast ; 
And first the ridge of mingled spears ; 
Above the brightening cloud appears 
And in the smoke the pennons flew, 
As in the storm the white sea-mew. 
Then marked they dashing broad and far, 
The broken billows of the war, 
And plumed crests of chieftains brave . . . 
. . Amid the scene of tumult, high 
They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly; 
And stainless Tunstall's banner white, 
And Edmund Howard's lion bright.' 

2 Cf. Hdt. ix. 74, of the anchor borne by Sophanes of Deceleia, which 
^schylus had probably seen shaken in the face of the Mede at Marathon and 
Platsea. 

3 The curious connexion between bearings and surnames, and the evident 
derivation of the latter from the former in many cases, is more than familiar to all 
students of history. Such names as Buller and Corbet speak for themselves ; and 
the writer of this book cannot help indulging in the inconsiderable vanity of 
referring to three Tyrwhitts, peewits or lapwings (Vanellus cristatits), borne by 
his family since a remote Saxon period, and first assumed by a Norseman or Dane, 
on his recovery, after being found wounded in a marsh by means of the hovering 
flight of those birds. 



- 
HERA LDRY A ND ART. 57 

the Holy Land must have heard of Abd-el-Aziz, who at 
present rules beyond Jordan 1 , and who is called ' El Nimr,' 
the Leopard. 

The connexion of heraldry with the history of Art is far 
closer than may be generally supposed. The representations 
of animals, &c., which it involved, were of course conven- 
tional in the highest degree ; as the typical representation 
of a lion, once established, was virtually a hieroglyphic all 
over the heraldic world, and unalterable ; and a dragon, once 
agreed upon, was, as Dr. Reginald Corbet sings, ' an example 
to all dragons.' But the effect of colour, as used in dresses 
and armour, can hardly be overrated : and the early MSS. 
everywhere prove, how subtle and vivid an instinct for colour 
sprang up from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. The 
custom of quartering knights' shields, and carrying light into 
dark and dark into light has been noticed by Mr. Ruskin 
for its effect on architectural ornament in colour, as well as 
a principle of MS. decoration. And great power and play 
of tints, combined with the highest beauty of personal dress 
and decoration, must have resulted from the use of mail 
rather than plate armour, since the mail-shirt would always 
fall in folds round the warrior's person, and either surcoat 
or mantle worn over it would be infinitely more graceful 
and brilliant than when it hung stiffly over the harsh angles 
of a suit of plate armour. 

The connexion between heraldic conventionalism, and that 
of MS. ornament has led us to the above remarks on heraldry, 
as a science involving much study of colour, and so connected 
with the progress of mediaeval Art. The link between our 
own subject and ornamented writing is far closer, as there is 
direct connexion between that and our modern landscape 
Art 2 . We cannot trace this now ; but before the end of this 
chapter is closed some remarks must be made on modern 
symbolism, as it is used, or should be used, in church decora- 
tion. They ought, we think, to be introduced here, though 
they are more germane to the matter of Fresco. Until the 
English public are satisfied about the safety of pictorial 

1 He has been last heard of, we think, as Mr. Tristram's guide. 

2 ' Modern Painters,' vol. iii. p. 208 sqq. 



58 HISTORICAL. 

representations in churches, it will be impossible to intro- 
duce them. It is not easy to understand, at first thought, 
why pictures should excite alarm in our churches, now that 
their windows are, by universal consent, and to everybody's 
satisfaction, filled with historical and symbolic representations 
in stained glass. Yet the real distinction which the popular 
mind draws, rightly, as we think, though unconsciously, may 
be arrived at by looking into this seeming inconsistency. 
In the first place, the painted window is generally purely 
historical, and represents scenes and events rather than single 
persons. It has not the character of a statue or single figure 
in a painting, which may seem, and does sometimes seem, 
as if it were set up to be adored for its beauty. A figure 
of the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross, or in contem- 
plation of the Crown of Thorns, as in Delaroche's incom- 
parable work, the greatest picture of its size in the art of 
our age, can mislead no one. Her figure, however noble 
and grandly painted, is only a part of a great history which 
the picture represents or implies and refers to. But the 
single figures of the Madonna, seen in countless Roman 
Catholic churches, whether noble or ignoble in point of Art, 
are set there for the convenience of the worshippers, that 
men, in whatever sense and with whatever view, may kneel 
down before them, and pray to them or through them. 
From the ' blue vision ' of the sad Madonna at Murano and 
Torcello, to the wooden-gilt image of a modern church, the 
principle is the same. Nothing in Art can be more pathetic 
or beautiful than the one, and we are not aware of any 
object of contemplation which is much more painful than 
the other. But both are set there for signs : because it is 
held to be easier for the heart of man to pray to what the 
eyes can see, than to Him whom eye has not seen. Idolatry 
is in fact the earliest and grossest form of seeking for a 
sign, or setting up an image (signum) to assist devotion. 
It is always held that poor and untaught people require 
special assistance to make them capable of prayer to any 
invisible Person : and it is asserted, again, that the ' simple ' 
minds of lazzaroni find it easier to pray to the Blessed 
Virgin because she was once a woman, as if Her Son had 



SYMBOLS NO IDOLS. 59 

not been made man : and wooden images are set up ac- 
cordingly for these simple ones. All we have to do with 
them here is to notice that the use of single images repre- 
sentative of Saints, as single objects of worship, is perfectly 
distinct from that of symbolic images, like that of the Good 
Shepherd, the Vine, or the Pelican. No one worships the 
Vine, or the Olive, the Peacock, the Fish, the Rock of Sinai, 
or the Ship of Souls. Nor has there ever been any incli- 
nation shewn among men to worship any effigy of Adam, 
Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Isaiah, or any other typical 
person or prophet. The fact is, that proper use of symbolism 
has always been one distinction between the right way of 
decorating churches and the wrong. The wrong way, or 
abuse of decorative Art, employed without any apparent 
sense of wrong in the Roman Catholic Church, has always 
been to set up single figures made as beautiful as possible, 
in order that a kind of half-erotic devotion may be felt before 
them. The image or sign is set up to assist devotion, and 
gradually becomes the object of devotion, or it is so in some 
sense from the first. The right form of church picture or 
historical fresco is to narrate in colour and form, as if it 
were in words, some great event or work of God for man, 
directly wrought or indirectly. As has been noticed before, 
the representation of an event can hardly allow the mind 
of the spectator to address itself in prayer to the Saint or 
Apostle who is represented as doing something, and not 
merely standing to receive adoration. It is not because the 
works of Tintoret and Michael Angelo are really irreligious, 
or the work of men without religion, that they are so entirely 
unlike devotional pictures, so called : it is because they are 
always either historical representations of actual events, or 
vivid and powerful imaginations of them ; and because the 
action of every figure in them is full and marked, so that 
their Saints are rapt and vigorously employed, and not at 
leisure, as it were, to receive worship. They are on a journey, 
or talking, or pursuing : they are .painted as servants of God 
doing His will, not as viceroys over men on earth. Were it 
fully understood as a rule that historical fresco representing 
the actual events of the Old and New Testaments is an 



60 HISTORICAL. 

absolutely different thing from representative images or per- 
sonifications, and that symbols of Christ and of His Apostles 
are not the same thing as idols, the use of fresco would spring 
up again where it sprang up of old, in all buildings dedicated 
to religious purposes. Until it is revived in churches we can 
hardly look for it in other public buildings ; and it is our 
conviction that no great step towards great art will be made 
in the present English Schools till it is restored. Michael 
Angelo's saying, that oil-colour is work for women and fresco 
for men, may have been prompted by jealousy of Rafael's 
success in the former ; but a better reason for the study of 
fresco is its publicity, and the fact that great works always 
kept before men's eyes make a special and continual appeal 
to their minds, while easel pictures in a gallery are only to 
be seen rarely, if at all. 

We have said, that the origin of modern representative Art 
is in the ancient Lombard churches, and what is more to the 
purpose, Mr. Ruskin has said it before, and fully proved the 
statement. The notes to the first volume of ' The Stones of 
Venice ' contain a beautiful account of Lombard Romanesque 
work at Verona, and Byzantine work at St. Mark's in Venice, 
distinguishing between the beauty and conventional grace of 
the latter, which is rigidly decorative and ornamental, and the 
energy and vigour of the former, where all is action of man 
and horse in hunting and fighting. The figures which com- 
pose the subject called the Chase of Theodoric are familiar 
by name to all travellers, being described in Murray's Hand- 
book: but the crypt of San Zenone, on whose front they 
occur, should also be visited. All the treatment tends towards 
representing violent action, and a great deal of humour is 
combined with it. We may still indulge the hope that the 
modern flower-work which is now in use everywhere, may 
be encouraged to develope itself into grotesque figure-carving. 
It is quite time for our artist- workman to get beyond leaves and 
acorns and ferns, and to put some thought into their capitals 
and crockets. To this end they should, we think, be left to 
themselves a little, and have full opportunities of working out 
selected subjects in their own way. We have seen very great 
quickness and facility displayed, in stone-carvings done for 



' 

IMPERSONAL FAME. 61 

ourselves, at ten shillings a day, and are quite sure that men 
like their author would be able to catch and realize almost 
any suggested idea, and also be able to invent for themselves. 
The elementary system of our Art Schools is at once simple 
and complete enough to teach any man to draw fairly correct 
designs for clothed figures in relief, if he has already learnt 
to do leaves and flowers, by careful attention to natural 
form : and the labours of artisan-sculptors may yet become 
a valuable means of Art-teaching to many who consider 
themselves superior to them in education, only because they 
have had, and neglected, superior means of instruction. The 
early and unskilled spirit of the griffin-porches of Verona 
culminates in the gates of Ghiberti ; and if modern work in 
bas-relief can teach the modern public to appreciate either 
end of the scale sincerely, the labour of those who produce 
it will not be wasted : nor need they regret it if their names 
are hardly preserved, or if they depart in the end leaving 
their deeds behind them, like the workmen of the impersonal 
schools of unknown masters, from the age of the Catacombs 
to the lifetime of Giunto and Nicolas of Pisa, of Cimabue 
and Giotto. 



III. 



GIOTTO. (1276 1336.) 

THE two preceding chapters contain nearly all we have to 
say about the impersonal schools of modern Art, as 
they may be called. All the works we have now to refer to 
as important for a student to dwell on and understand, 
where he has the opportunity of seeing them or good records 
of them, will bear the mark of some well-known hand and be 
associated with familiar names. It is out of the question, as 
we have said, to attempt to abridge Vasari in a work like this, 
or even to give lists of the painters of the various schools. 
Mr. Wornum's ' Epochs of Painting,' or the works of Messrs. 
Crowe and Cavalcaselle, to which latter we are much in- 
debted, are open to all who wish to study the history of 
painting generally. Our own wish is rather to trace from 
their first origin, or rather from their earliest revival, those 
principles of Art which seem to us the fittest to guide the 
student at the present time. The earliest Christian works 
are of the date of the gradual disappearance of Roman Art, 
as has been said, inherited through Greece from Egypt. We 
have also said something of the first known works of Teutonic 
Christians, of their force and energy, their humour, and the 
early and eager faculties of observation and imitation which 
their unknown producers displayed ; and have inferred that, 
whatever instruction they may have received, either from Old 
Greek or Byzantine artists, they soon worked out their 
lessons in a thoroughly original way. 

The name of Cimabue marks the advance of Painting from 
merely traditional treatment : either he or Giunto of Pisa is 
named as the first who brought to bear the energies of the 
Gothic mind on their own branch of Art, and made a strong 



CIMABUE AND GIOTTO. 63 

effort to advance in power of realization and expression. 
His great pupil, who is known by his Christian name of 
Giotto, his surname being Bondone, seems to have done more 
even from the first, and to have always observed and worked 
from Nature, from the days when Cimabue found him 
drawing the ram on the Apennine pastures. It will be seen 
that the effort at advance in representative power, and the 
constant habit of reference to Nature, go far towards making 
the principles of a school of Realist Art ; by which, in a 
general way, is meant, not a school which is opposed to ideal 
or imaginative subjects or treatment, but one which copies 
natural things faithfully, and makes out or realizes them 
thoroughly, and does not reject familiar or every-day subject. 
Dante, who was Giotto's contemporary and friend, gives us in 
the following lines the judgment of the chief of Gothic poetry 
upon the leaders of the Gothic sister-arts : 

' Credette Cimabue nella pintura 
Tener lo campo : Ed hora ha Giotto il grido 
Si; che la fama di colui e oscura 1 .' 

Round, and after, him who won this emphatic praise from 
Dante, his Art was rising and to rise, until Francia's Angels 
had something of Paradise in them, and the painter's vision 
on the walls of the Sistine challenged the written descriptions 
of the Inferno. 

Giotto's portrait of Dante dates 1300-6, we think; not 
later, since Dante was at Padua with him, in 1305, during 
the progress of his work at the Arena Chapel ; but his earlier 
works are to be followed at Assisi alone. It is matter of 
some doubt whether the frescoes of the Upper Church of S. 
Francis are Cimabue's and Gaddo Gaddi's, or Cimabue's 
alone, or Giotto's in part as assistant scholar. Those of the 
Upper Church skew his full power of thought and invention, 
and both daring in attempt and a power of execution far 
beyond anything he can have learned from Cimabue. The 
progress in all that we are used to consider as artistic power 
from the celebrated Borgo Allegri* picture of Cimabue, to 
Giotto's Marriage of S. Francis to ' his Lady Poverty ' is incal- 

1 Purgatorio, xiv. 4, quoted by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. ii. 

2 The story of the visit of Charles of Anjou to Cimabue's studio, and the first 



64 HISTORICAL. 

culable. The former picture is doubtless a great advance on 
Margaritone, or the unknown Greek artists who may or may 
not have instructed the first Italian master. Vasari's view 
that Cimabue was taught by them is controverted by Messrs. 
Crowe and Cavalcaselle : but at all events the Virgin of the 
Borgo Allegri proves that he must have followed the Byzan- 
tine picture-types of traditional features. The most charming 
book of travels in existence, ' Curzon's Monasteries of the 
Levant,' gives the plain reason why he did so, and also why 
such traditional representation remains unchanged to this 
day. It is matter of church discipline and teaching. ' The 
traditional likenesses of the Saviour and some of the Apostles 
have been handed down to us from the earliest ages . . . 
From the remotest times the figures of the Saints were drawn 
after a recognized form, from which no variation was made 
till a late period in the Latin Church, and which continues to 
be observed in its original exactness in the Greek Church to 
the present day . . . That no changes might creep in in 
the lapse of time, the manner in which not only all the Saints 
and personages, but the scenes of Holy Writ, are to be drawn, 
is exactly described in a MS. constantly consulted by the 
Greek artist. This curious book, with various additions 
which have been made from time to time, serves as a manual 
for painters employed to this day to ornament churches, &c., 
with frescoes : a translation of it has been published in French 
by M. Didron, called "Manuel d'Iconographie Chretienne," 
8vo. Paris, 1845.' Cimabue would have followed the Greek 
types and copies to a great extent, then, whether he received 
personal instruction from Greek artists or not : and no one 
who remembers the features of the Greek Madonnas of 
Torcello and Murano at Venice can help observing that their 
faces are of the same type as that of the Madonna of the Borgo 
Allegri. They are distinguished by long eyes, short upper lip, 
and the distance from the corner of the eye to the angles of 
the nose and mouth : still more by the sadness of expression, 
which the rude Greek work never fails to convey. Francia 

sight of the new Virgin and Child, and procession of the picture to the place in 
Santa Maria Novella, which it occupies to this day, is too well known to require 
notice. It is probably true. 



TRADITIONAL PORTRAIT. 65 

and we think Cima di Conegliano, both give the Madonna 
the same features, shewing the same advance in power on 
Cimabue which he himself shews on the mosaics. As has 
been hinted above, his great step in advance was in power of 
eye and hand and realization, in greater sense of beauty, and 
greater energy and daring in experimental treatment. The 
Borgo Allegri picture, for instance, is worked up to a high 
degree of brilliancy : and it would seem from the early paint- 
ings at Assisi as if Giotto received his Art like an improved 
instrument from his master's hand, little aware what use 
his own vast and unconscious powers would make of it. 

For it is not only improvement in every form of technical 
skill which we observe in Giotto's work from the first : it is the 
presence of a mind as fertile, inventive, and decisive of view 
as those of the unknown Lombard workers in stone. A 
creative power like theirs was now to be employed in the 
more powerful materials of painting. The Florentine lucco 
covered a graver man than did the Lombard mail-shirt ; but 
in humour, vigour of conception, and clearness of inner vision 
of their work, the Veronese and the Tuscan schools of 
workmen greatly resembled each other. We do not know 
how far the term ' school ' applies, in strictness, to the 
Lombard workmen ; but it certainly does to Giotto and his 
contemporaries, since he received much instruction from 
Cimabue, and transferred it in turn to all the Giotteschi, or 
followers of his own. And before pointing out Giotto's 
technical discoveries and growth in scientific power, there is 
an important observation to make, or rather quote, as to the 
spirit and frame of mind in which he worked ; which seems 
greatly to resemble, mutatis mutandis, that of some of our 
best Realist painters of religious and other subjects at our 
own day. 

In the first place, his habits of thought seem to have been 
simply Christian, rather than ascetic or ecclesiastical 1 . From 
the beginning of his work at Assisi, and probably before it, he 
was always in contact with religious persons, in the stricter 
sense of the word. Either secular or regular clergy, or monks 
and nuns, were his patrons and friends, perhaps his assistants 

1 Note A, p. 80. 
F 



66 HISTORICAL. 

in his work, from beginning to end. He was early made 
preacher in fresco to the Franciscan order, and set forth their 
view of life and the glories of poverty for them, honourably, 
and to the best of his ability. Nor does it seem as if his 
powers were limited by any sense of falsehood or unreality in 
the principles to which he was giving enduring life ; it seems 
clear that neither mendicant monks nor secular clergy dis- 
graced the Faith in his eyes. Having undoubtedly had to 
deal and drive bargains with monks, and finding them not 
very unlike other men in such matters, Giotto has not a word 
of malice or mockery, or even reproach for them, that we 
know of. He must have thrown his whole soul into painting 
the praise of Lady Poverty, and her espousals with S. 
Francis ; and he never expresses or implies a thought that 
Franciscans were not poor in this world, or otherwise than 
sincerely self-denying. Yet he has no more idea of being one 
of them, or taking their view of life and course in it, than had 
Michael Angelo or Benvenuto Cellini. His ' canzone ' or 
Poverty 1 are a not unedifying contrast to the fresco of her 

1 K. F. L. F. Von Rumohr, vol. ii. p. 51, Crowe and Cavalcaselle. Giotto 
enumerates all the evils of poverty, involuntary and voluntary, dwelling on its 
moral dangers in particular. 

' Molti son que', che lodan povertate, 
E tadicon*, che fa statto perfetto ; 
S 'egli 6 provato e heletto 
Quello osservando, nulla cosa avendo. 

Di quella poverta, ch' e contro a voglia 

Non e da dubitar, che tuttavia 

Che di pecchare e via. 

Facendo spesso a* giudici far fallo 

E d 'onor donna e damigella spoglia, 

E fa far furto forza e villania, 

E spesso usar bugia, 
E ciascun priva d'onorato stallo. 

Certo mi par grand onta 

Chiamar virtute quel, che spegna '1 bene 

E molto mal s'avene 
Cosa bestial preporre a la virtute. 

Tu potresti qui fare un argomento 
II Signor nostro molto la commenda, 
Guarda, che ben s' intenda ; 

* For ' ti icon.' R, 



ASSfSI. 67 

glories. He seems in fact to have enjoyed life as frankly 
and thoroughly as a man can, who has higher aims than 
enjoyment ; and probably his continued industry and pros- 
perity gave him at least the full human share of happiness. 
But the near friend of Dante must have been a man of many 
thoughts and inward struggles : and Giotto's immense 
reputation for saying good things was probably no very 
decisive indication of a normal state of high spirits. He 
shews, like Dante, the natural protestantism or independence 
of a powerful mind ; yet his clerical and monastic friends 
seem never to have mistrusted him ; nor to have cared, if he 
took their inner measure as often, and as profoundly well, 
as he drew their portraits on the wall. It might be the 
subject of a very charming essay, we think, if any one would 
compare the works and the spirit of the Franciscan painter of 
the Court of Poverty, and the great Dominican Brother 
Angelico. The rivalry of the two orders is well known, as 
well as their different courses of action ; and there seems a 
curious unfitness of things in the fact of the great Realist 
being on the one side, and the chief of all Purists on the other. 
The fact is, that as all Giotto's works on Scriptural subject 
abundantly shew, he held the Christian Faith with a sincerity 
and depth which made him as much a brother of monks as of 
all other men. His labour was as much labour of love as 
theirs, and its results shew full appreciation of their motives, 
though he expresses shrewd doubts about the wisdom of 
their practice. There is the spirit of devout and intense 
earnestness of representation, striving to realise facts intensely 
believed, the Gothic sense of incongruity and odd incident, 

Che sue parole son molto profonde, 

E talor' anno dopio intendimento, 

E vuol, che "1 salutifero si prenda 

Per6 1 tuo viso abenda, 

E guarda '1 ver", che dentro vi s' asconde ; 

Tu vedrai, che risponde 

Le sue parole alia sua santa vita ; 

Che podesta compita 

Ebbe de sodisfare a tempo e loco. 

E pero '1 suo aver poco 

Fu per noi scampar dulla vita,' 

(RUMOHR, Italienische Forschitngen, ii. 51.) 
F 2 



68 HISTORICAL. 

which gives its humour to the Gothic character 1 , and also 
that sense of honour which makes the true workman strive for 
every technical excellence. What he attained in the latter 
way seems to come next, though our observations must be 
necessarily brief, and are not entirely, or for the most part, 
original. 

Composition, or artistic arrangement of groups and sepa- 
rate figures, seems to have been determined and fully 
systematized in Giotto's mind. He was not a man, nor was 
his time a suitable period, for analysis of principles or framing 
of strict rules. The age of grammar was two centuries off 
at least. But a fairly good treatise on composition, and 
grammar of such of its rules as are capable of system and 
expression, might be framed from his works. Regular 
principles seem to have been carried out in the allegories of 
the Lower Church at Assisi, with the greatest possible skill, 
reaching in fact to the Art which hides its artfulness. 
Groups are admirably distributed over the space, and con- 
nected and bound to each other with the greatest subtlety, 
forming curves and sweeping lines of real beauty all through 
each picture. It is probable that the painter's continual 
employment in covering spaces of regular and graceful shape 
had much to do with his marked habit of balancing mass 
against mass. The double arrangement in the marriage of 
S. Francis with Poverty, and the triple one in the Allegory of 
Chastity, are beautiful illustrations of balanced grouping 2 . 
Every figure, moreover, visibly and at once contributes to the 
general motive or purpose of the picture, so that none can be 
spared. The unity of action and conception in one of these 

1 The two children in the fresco of S. Francis's Rejection by his Father, who 
have pebbles ready to pelt the saint, and whose countenances indicate strong 
anticipatory enjoyment of the proceeding, are clearly a reminiscence of Florentine 
stone-throwing, a civic habit much pursued by almost all classes. See ' Romola,' 
and especially Mr. Leighton's illustration of the children in the ' Conversion of 
Monna Brigida.' See also in the ' Lady Poverty.' 

2 The former is a double group, round which the eye is easily carried in two 
beautiful curves, by an outer and inner circuit. The joined hands of the 
principal figures are continued by the heads of the angels who stand below down 
to that of the youth who is giving his cloak to the beggar. Those of the two 
pelting children bring the eye round to the worldly young men and the avaricious 
group ; and other heads form an inner circle. 



ACTION. 69 

large compositions is marvellous, and when their great 
number is considered the power of their author appears quite 
unearthly. 

Again, all which we call Harmony, or pleasantness of 
colour-drawing and treatment, takes a new step and de- 
velopment in the work of Giotto's manhood. Sharp, clear, 
and unsentimental Florentine faces take the place of Greek 
ideals, and are treated not traditionally, but with all the 
interest of portraiture. Sometimes, however, hard outlines 
are softened, and cheeks rounded ; limbs are drawn in 
springing action, and generally in correct form. Round, full, 
and pillar-like throats, upright and rather portly, and long, 
almond-shaped eyes, prevail everywhere. Where the ana- 
tomy of a limb is wrong, or if it is missed and ignored, still 
the limb is in right action, as in Hogarth's work ; though in 
his case, the dress of the eighteenth century really excused 
him from much attention to the subject of anatomy, as we 
apprehend that no human being in a wig and short breeches 
can ever look ' in drawing ' at all in a picture 1 . On the right 
of the great door at Assisi, S. Francis stands pointing to a 
crowned skeleton, and preaching the same sermon which 
Orcagna afterwards delivered with such solemn power on the 
walls of the Campo Santo at Pisa. The painting of the 
bones, &c., is correct enough to prove that Giotto had at 
least a competent knowledge of the ground-plan of God's 
image 2 . Again, action is never overacted in his works. 
They are in fact conceptions rather than compositions, in 
strict statement. Whether he exerts himself on portraits, or 
events, or outward nature (some slight account of his land- 
scape will follow shortly) or even if he draws on his 
imagination, first calling up a scene before his own mind's 
eye, then ' bidding ' its figures stand still 3 until their likeness 

1 The high-heeled shoes of Hogarth's time were worn by men as well as women, 
though in a minor key of deformity. They must have altogether abolished free 
steps and manly bearing ; exactly as the carriage of a lady is rendered impossible 
to our future legislators, by the idiotic hoof-shoes of 1874. 

2 Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. I much regret to have missed this in a late 
visit to Assisi. 

3 Browning, ' Pippa Passes', vol. i. 101, ed. 1849 : 

' Bid each conception stand, while, trait by trait, 
My hand transfers its lineaments to stone ! ' 



70 HISTORICAL. 

is fixed in his fresco for ever he always strives for the truth, 
for the real event which has been, or for the future thing 
which shall be real. This, as we have said in other words, 
makes him the first high example of all Realist painting 
that he was really faithful to the truth he saw with his eyes, 
or the vision he 'saw within his head.' He knew enough 
anatomy to do justice to action ; he either did not know 
enough of it to look upon it as a motive or purpose of 
painting, or he cared far more for the facts of Nature, and the 
true imaginations of the Faith, which he felt to be his real 
work. He calls no attention to muscles and sinews ; nudity 
gives him no special pleasure ; he strives to do it justice, but 
does not insist upon it. There is grand composition of groups 
and single figures ; but there is no attitudinizing. One 
passionate motion, that of throwing up the hands, seems to 
have struck him as a special expression of the wildest and 
deepest distress. And rightly, for those who have unhappily 
seen that action know, that, resembling as it does the move- 
ment of a drowning person, it is the sign of a sinking and 
despairing spirit, of loss of earthly hope, and of all hope for the 
time ; and of the wild appeal of one at his wits' end, who sees 
no help in his extreme need. Those who know the works of 
William Blake will remember the marvellous figure of Job, 
with arms raised high, in his first and awful complaint, ' Let 
the day perish wherein I was born 1 .' But, generally 
speaking, Giotto is able to give intense feeling and passion 
to forms or countenances, without bodily gesticulation, only 
in the natural movements of the scene. His faces are won- 
derful examples of power of expression, for they no more 
grimace than his figures attitudinize : they express feeling 
exactly as keen-featured men and clear-looking women do, 
when they are thoroughly affected, too much so to disguise 
expression, or think of their own deportment. When his 
men or women shed tears, they cry in a homely and piteous 
way, helplessly human, which simply goes to the heart of a 
tolerably sensitive beholder 2 , and which shews that the bold 
jester who drew them had the softness of a thoroughly 

1 Gilchrist's Life contains a copy of this plate, vol. i. 

2 See the Entombment, in the Scrovegno Chapel at Padua. 



FL OR EN TINE FA CES. 7 1 

humorous character. When they express interest, they do 
so in a vivid Florentine way. Every one who has looked at 
Giotto, or his great successor Ghirlandajo, will see the truth 
of the remark in ' Romola ' about the ' sharp Florentine faces' 
which fill the crowded frescoes of the latter, as well as the 
former. 

The popular idea of old Italian features is formed too much 
on the portrait of Rafael, and too little on that of Dante l : or 
else one's fancy is apt to stray to dark cheeks and ragged 
beards of modern Piazza, di Spagna models. Or we take up 
with the ideal of the portraits of Caesar Borgia, forgetting 
that he was a Spaniard, of a cast of face visible, we believe, 
in Andalusia to this day. It is a good work to direct any 
one who is reading modern history to study the Florentines 
of Dante's day in Giotto, and of Savonarola's in Ghirlandajo. 
The value of the publications of the Arundel Society, which 
enable the untravelled to form a conception of these men's 
powers and the life of their day, can only be shewn by time 
and patient attention to them. And the Society's larger 
plates from their works are of the greatest use to intelligent 
students of history, for they give an idea not only of technical 
skill or personal inspiration, but of the physiognomy of the 
time. All the counsel, decision, and fighting power of the 
old Florentine is visible in them. Close-shaven as they 
almost always are, the youngest of Giotto's subjects look 
delicate enough, but their looks are scarcely girlish like 
Rafael's. The youthful Dante, for instance, engraved in 
vol. i. of Crowe and Cavalcaselle, soft as he looks, has a 
jaw like a boa constrictor ; which the rounded face and full 
lips no-way disguise. Mr. Leighton has rendered valuable 
service to Art and literature, in common with the authoress 
of 'Romola,' by his well-considered illustrations of old 
Florence in that work; and it will be noticed in it that 
Tito's Greek contours look more like the popular Italian 
ideal than those of the true-bred inhabitants of 'our fine 
old quarrelsome Florence.' The latter are not like broad- 
bearded Germans who lived by the saddle ; nor have they the 
fair recklessness of ancient English features, like Edward IV's, 

1 Note B, p. 104. 



72 HISTORICAL. 

or Gloucester's they are far more thoughtful and active- 
minded. But they are all hardened and worn, with the looks 
of men who lived where every house was fortified, and cut on 
the outside into solid rustication, all gloomy strength. They 
did not live in a city at peace within itself, among the fair 
Venetian mosaics, of drinking birds, and signs of the Lord's 
presence, where the hand upraised was cut in relief over the 
doorways, blessing all who entered \ In short, the works of 
the first great Realist contain composition without academical 
posing, and unconscious expression instead of consciously- 
adjusted features. 

This is not the place to undertake the question how far 
anatomical knowledge may conduce to pictorial power. Our 
own idea is that a painter should study anatomy, if he must 
study it, from live muscle in healthy natural action, and from 
that only ; remembering that his duty is faithful rendering 
of external form, while the anatomist explains inner structure. 
The works of Sir Charles Bell on Expression, and the later 
observations of Mr. Darwin, are of the highest interest to the 
physiologist, and in another sense to the artist. But the 
illustrations in the former work are generally of the more 
violent emotions, and there is after all great difficulty in 
distinguishing one passion from another except in its degree 
of vehemence, and consequently of distortion. Nothing could 
justify an artist in trying to construct a picture of violent 
emotions by anatomical rule, or to represent feelings he has 
not deeply experienced himself and recognized in the coun- 
tenances of other people : for on all hands it is allowed the 
muscles are only the mechanism of expression, and that 
the spirit within supplies its dynamical power ; nor is it 
denied that if that source be noble or worthy, the dynamics 
and mechanics of the face will unite in noble and beautiful 
expression, and vice versa. Any person who wishes to see the 
mechanical theory of expression thoroughly overstrained, may 
consult Lebrun's work, which Mr. Darwin refers to for that 
purpose. Recipes for the illustration of the varied passions of 

1 Represented in ' The Seven Lamps of Architecture," I believe. I cannot find it 
in ' The Stones of Venice.' The hand in act of blessing, as a symbol of Divine 
presence, is at Plate xi. vol. ii. p. 138 of that work on a Byzantine Cross. 



THE ARENA CHAPEL. 73 

the children of men alternate with well drawn plates of the 
stronger emotions, and the impression on the mind of the 
spectator certainly is that they are all very like each other, 
and like nothing else on earth. When we last saw the 
book, it was open at Despair. The author told his pupils, 
ex cathedra, that in Despair the corners of the mouth are 
violently drawn down, the lines of the cheeks deeply traced, 
the eyes sunken and strongly wrinkled, the teeth exposed, 
and the hair disordered. The illustration carried these in- 
structions out to the letter. At first it awakened a vague 
idea of impossible absurdity : but a discursive imagination, 
and rather extended experience, at last enabled us to trace 
some resemblance to it in continental countenances, observed 
at critical moments of sea-sickness. If the ingenious artist 
chose that means of studying Despair from the life, bad 
sailors will probably consider that he was not far wrong. 
We daresay the other passions were done like condign justice 
to, or rather upon. 

Giotto did not work by recipe. But his faces of pain and 
sorrow are distressing in good earnest ; he puts tears and 
laughter in men's eyes, and joy is joy in his hand. His 
treatment of Despair is rude and formidable, shewing the 
spirit of Orcagna and Dante. He has no idea of methodical 
convulsions of feature. Despair, in his view, is a thing of the 
soul, shewn by desperate deed. He personifies her as the 
last of the vices, the end of the reprobate defying and 
renouncing God self-strangled and dragged into everlasting 
punishment. 

Some short account of the Scrovegno Chapel at Padua 
seems necessary here, as it is easy of access to the traveller, 
and as the Arundel Society has published satisfactory records 
of its frescoes, we refer our readers to these, and especially 
to Prof. Ruskin's account of them, which should be carefully 
studied. Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle also give an ad- 
mirable description of the whole building. The building now 
called the Arena Chapel at Padua appears to have been 
finished by Scrovegno, probably from Giotto's designs or 
with his advice, in the year 1303. It is uncertain whether 
Giotto had yet been at Padua. But in that year he is said 



74 HISTORICAL. 

to have been invited by Benedict XI to execute paintings 
for him at Avignon. The well-known story of his being 
asked by Benedict's messengers for a specimen of his powers, 
and only drawing a circle with brush and colour, is said to 
be connected with this invitation Northward. The actual 
migration of the Popedom to Avignon took place two years 
after, under Clement V ; but this seems by no means fatal 
to the story 1 . Benedict, however, died before Giotto reached 
Avignon, and it is suggested by Mr. Crowe that the painter 
betook himself to Padua in consequence. We know that 
Dante and Giotto were together in Padua in 1305-6; and 
the Arena paintings must have been proceeding then, and 
were, perhaps, near their completion. The chapel is a single 
vaulted aisle with six windows, its choir separated by an arch 
from the rest of the building. There is a waggon roof with 
a blue and starred vault. At the East end is a fresco of the 
Lord in Glory, flanked by the Annunciation and the Betrayal. 
At the West end is the Last Judgment, Paradise on the 
Lord's right hand and Hell on His left. The highest or 
third range of pictures represents the Virtues and Vices the 
former have their faces set towards the Paradise on the 
Western wall, and headed by Hope, who seems about to 
enter in ; and on the other side Despair, the last of the 
Vices, is being dragged towards the everlasting fire. Six 
pictures on each side next below these allegorical figures 
represent scenes from the Protevangelion of the life of the 
Blessed Virgin. The same number below illustrate the 
Gospel histories down to the Day of Pentecost. Every 
student of Italian history, or of painting, ought to read Prof. 
Ruskin's account of the latter, and look carefully at the 

1 It seems not impossible that Benedict XI may have been preparing for the 
migration which Clement accomplished. His messenger was sent to Giotto 
from Treviso. Vasari refers the whole story to Benedict IX, dead 60 years 
before ; who, as he says, invited Giotto to Rome. Schorn (see note in Mrs. 
Jonathan Forster's translation of Vasari) shews that Baldinucci has proved that 
Boniface VIII was his patron on that occasion, circ. 1295. This falls in with Mr. 
Crowe's account, which we adopt. He says : ' The feet of Benedict XI's 
invitation to Avignon is thus authoritatively stated by Albertini (Opusculum, p. 
51) : "Fuitque (Giotto) a Benedicto XI, Pont. Max. in Avenionem, ad pingendum 
martyrorum historias, accitus ingenti pretio." There is no ground for thinking 
that Giotto ever left Italy for France at all.' 



ARENA CHAPEL. 75 

record of the frescoes published by the Arundel Society. 
The present Government of Italy will probably diminish the 
melancholy importance which at one time seemed likely to 
attach to these copies, by preserving the originals ] . But a 
very short time of patient attention to the former will enable 
their reader to form such an idea of the character and the 
work of Giotto, as will be of real avail to him in his studies, 
even if he is only attending to the subject of Painting as a 
part of History. We may hereafter try to point out how 
advisable it is to do this, and to illustrate the written records 
of events by the remaining works of the men who saw and 
lived through them. Now that every effort is made to enable 
students to realize facts and to call the imaginative power 
to their aid, it is obvious that the help of Painting must be 
called in, as that of Poetry has long been used. It seems 
unreasonable that Dante's Divine Comedy should be the 
central work, so to speak, of the Middle Ages, and that the 
actual MSS. of many colours and thoughts, drawn by the 
hand of Dante's close friend, should pass unstudied and 
almost unknown. From these pictures from the New Testa- 
ment history one may arrive at an accurate understanding 
of Giotto's intermediate position between the Byzantine and 
Naturalist schools. 'As compared with the Byzantine he is 
a realist, whose power consists in the introduction of living 
character and various incidents, modifying the formerly 
received Byzantine symbols,' and also striving for correct- 
ness and definition in representing ordinary natural objects. 
' So far as he has to do this, he is a realist of the purest 
kind ; endeavouring always to conceive events precisely as 
they were likely to have happened, not to idealize them into 
forms artfully impressive to the spectator. But in so far as he 
was compelled to retain, or did not wish to reject, the figura- 
tive character of the Byzantine symbols, he stands opposed 
to succeeding realists, in the quantity of meaning which 
probably lies hidden in any composition, as well as in the 
simplicity with which he will probably treat it in order to 

1 We remember, in 1854, seeing the traces of three broad streams of rain from 
the W. upper window to the floor, which divided the Last Judgment by their three 
channels of destruction. 



76 HISTORICAL. 

enforce, or guide to, this meaning : the figures being often 
letters of a hieroglyphic, which he will not multiply, lest he 
should lose in force of suggestion what he gained in dramatic 
interest.' Thus in the Marriage in Cana, as a realist he takes 
note of what nearly all artists passed over after him, that is 
to say, of the poverty of the entertainers. This is far more 
than probable, as the want of wine on such an occasion points 
plainly to narrowed circumstances. The miracle is straight- 
forwardly represented as a deed of Divine kindness and 
blessing. But Giotto implies by the lifted hand of the 
Madonna, and the action of the fingers of the bridegroom, 
as if they held sacramental bread, that there lay a deeper 
meaning under it ; while the master of the feast, who is 
drinking deep, not aware of the wonder just wrought, seems 
to represent the carelessness of the world to present spiritual 
power. 

The Entombment, the Ascension and the Crucifixion, of 
the Arena Chapel seem to us to demand special attention : 
the Saviour's face in the last is expressionless and mystic, the 
countenance of one who was God as well as Man. The 
allegories of Virtues and Vices are wonderful in their power 
of symbolism and expression of thought without words. One 
or two examples must suffice ; and for the rest we must 
refer to Prof. Ruskin and the work of Messrs. Crowe and 
Cavalcaselle. 

Infidelity is a woman, or man, in a flowing Eastern robe, 
wearing a helmet with a broad rim, which keeps the light 
from her eyes. She stands infirmly as if falling, carries in 
her hand an image which holds a cord or noose round her 
neck, and has flames bursting forth at her feet. A figure 
above seems to call to her in vain. 

Envy has fingers ending in claws, and raises her right hand 
with a vague clutching movement : a serpent issues from her 
mouth and is about to bite her between the eyes : she has 
long ears, horns on her head, and flames about her body. 

Fortitude is a robust figure standing behind a broad shield 
which covers her from the shoulders to the feet. Broken 
darts are deeply driven into it, and it bears a lion's head. 
She wears a lion's skin knotted round her neck, and holds 



SYMBOLISMS AT PADUA. 77 

what seems to be a mace or heavy four-edged sword in her 
hand. Hope and Despair have been mentioned. All alike 
shew the seriousness of mediaeval allegory, that is to say, the 
quantity of premeditated meaning it conveyed, and its use in 
men's eyes as an instrument of teaching truth and duty. 

The use of symbolism or allegory for the sake of impres- 
siveness is illustrated by all the ancient stories in which 
riddles are involved, and the Eastern custom of putting forth 
an enigma as a trial of ingenuity. It seems to have travelled 
westward from India to Thebes : perhaps the conduct of the 
Sphinx made the actual riddle unpopular to the Greek mind ; 
but the oracles must have kept the political acumen of Greek 
statesmen actively employed on allegorical statements. In 
Art, or for didactic purposes, the use of allegory is to be 
attributed to the agreeable excitement of the intellect and 
awakening of the attention and the imaginative power which 
it produces. But, like the oracles, Giotto always uses allegory 
for a purpose with obvious and forcible intent to press a 
point on the mind. Our modern use of allegory makes it a 
mere proverb of contempt, simply for want of meaning. No 
wonder we reject it, when the popular idea of it is in ceilings 
covered with ancient and aquiline Romans, short swords, 
scales, and lyres ; or with gods and goddesses apparently 
engaged, as Carlyle says, ' in the infinite conjugation of the 
verb to sprawl.' 

Giotto's labours in Naples are beyond our reach at present ; 
nor have we space for any account of the great Churches of 
Assisi (upper and lower) which are the chief museum of his 
works, or for the paintings (1300-1302) of the Chapel of the 
Bargello, or Podesta's Palace. The great Inferno and 
Paradise there are still intelligible, though the colour of all 
the work is lost. All has been drawn and ' modelled ' in red, 
and ' glazed over,' the shades being softened into light by 
stippling. The Lucifer follows Dante's description ; but the 
chief interest is in the Paradise, as it contains portraits of 
Dante in his youth, of Corso Donati, and Brunetto Latini, 
and other determined Bianchi or Neri, at peace for a short 
interval l . 

1 Note B, p. 104. 



7 8 HISTORICAL. 

The landscape of Giotto is rudimentary : life was too short 
for him to paint in, and, like all great men of the Middle 
Ages, he felt that his game was man. Yet he introduces 
craggy or blue mountain distances with enjoyment ; re- 
membering probably the old Apennine life of Bondone, the 
shepherd's son, before Cimabue found him drawing by the 
wayside, and led him away to Florence, to Dante, and to 
honour only second to his. Prof. Ruskin mentions a beautiful 
piece of rock incident behind the ' Sacrifice for the Friends ' 
at Pisa, which we regret not to have seen *. * There is a little 
fountain breaking out at the mountain foot, and trickling 
away, its course marked by bunches of reeds : the latter formal 
enough certainly, and always in triplets ; but still with a 
sense of nature pervading the whole.' Giotto's trees are 
generally conventionally drawn, the forms of the leaves being 
given with marked accuracy, which enables one at once to 
determine what species he means. He enjoys clear open sky 
and winding streams, as Benozzo Gozzoli, Ghirlandajo, and 
Perugino afterwards did, until Masaccio stood on the verge of 
the schools of unconventional mountain design. 

Giotto's last days were crowded with great works. In 1334 
he was made Master of Works and Chief Architect of 
Florence, and his Campanile at the Duomo of Santa Maria, dei 
Fiori began to rise. But in 1336 its architect passed away, 
fuller of honours than of years, having made and opened the 
way for such an advance in all man's means of recording 
thought by colour and form, as no man ever caused before or 
since. He owed much to the Byzantines, through Cimabue ; 
far more to the Pisan sculpture generally 2 . But he left behind 
him a greater increase of technical power and of zeal for 
Art, and faith in it, than can be traced to the labours of any 
other man. He is the founder of modern Painting, and its 
history is a tale of glory for centuries after his day ; and in 
all that glory he has a share. All is decay after Michael 
Angelo and Tintoret, his superiors perhaps in human great- 
ness. And for a time after Giotto's death there was a pause; 
no man was left who matched him or approached him, until 

1 It is now quite lost (1867). 

2 Nicolo Pisano finished the great pulpit of the Baptistery at Pisa in 1 260. 



LAST WORKS OF GIOTTO. 79 

by degrees his followers drew on to where he had pitched 
their standard far in front, and once more the goldsmith 
Ghirlandajo took it up and pressed on, to be the master of 
Michael Angelo. Those who think all Art comes from the 
Renaissance or Revival of classical models and literature in 
the sixteenth century, will do well to consider the accumu- 
lated power and knowledge of the native Italian schools, and 
how well the labours of their first masters prepared their 
followers to understand and work from models of Greek 
beauty. If Renaissance means fresh life and renewal, Teu- 
tonic Art began to be renewed in the days of Nicolas of 
Pisa. 



HISTORICAL. 



NOTE A, TO PAGE 87. 

I HAVE verified most of the descriptions throughout this book, during a visit to 
Florence, Pisa and Assisi in the summer of 1867 : and must again acknowledge 
the excellence of Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle's descriptions and illustrations. 
Giotto's powers are perhaps seen at their greatest stretch in the symbolic paintings 
of the Lower Church of Assisi ; in which the colour also is wonderfully preserved 
and of exquisite quality. The Giottesque warm white, yellow, blue, and delicate 
flesh-colour with raw Sienna shades are relieved against very dark skies, with 
extraordinary effect. I could not find S. Francis and the Crowned Skeleton, in the 
Upper Church, where the frescoes have suffered severely. But the sacristan still 
calls one's attention to the inflexibly obstinate face of S. Francis's father, in the 
celebrated ' Rejection,' as ' duro come pietra,' The stern and aggrieved parent of 
Santa Clara is also immortalized. 



NOTE B, TO PAGES 93 AND 101. 
ITALIAN FEATURES.' 

I REMEMBER observing to Mr. Holman Hunt, in his studio at Florence, that 
Ghirlandajo's models in the Santa Maria Novella (the Tornabuoni and others) 
were very English-looking people. ' Of course,' he replied, ' the high Gothic 
countenance is the same everywhere There are two marked types of face and 
form in North Italy : that and the old Etruscan. Dante may be taken for chief 
example of the Gothic ; Napoleon is the best-known specimen of the other. One 
is a large-boned frame with high features ; the other a shorter and broader figure, 
powerful and statuesque, with dark regular face and eyes, and generally with 
peculiar beauty in the neck and throat.' 

The Bargello portrait of Dante in his youth, mentioned at p. 93, has just been 
repainted (July, 1867). Rather unfortunately, no attempt has been made to 
reproduce the youthful and rounded original : a modern middle-aged ideal Dante 
has been substituted. 

The new ' Isabel ' by Mr. Hunt is a very grand ideal of the Etruscan female 
form, which combines grace and softness with a wonderful expression of strength. 



IV. 
ORCAGNA AND ANGELICO. 

ORCAGNA .... DEAD BEFORE 1376: ANGELICO, 1387-1455. 

IT is a circumstance well worth notice, though not very 
difficult of explanation, that the painters of the earlier 
periods of Italian Art seem to have suffered less than men of 
other crafts from the distresses of the times they lived in. 
No doubt they had a share of suffering, as thoughtful 
spectators, or indeed as citizens compelled to take a side. 
Giotto's Paradise in the Palace of the Bargello, with its 
portraits of Florentine notables, supposed at length to have 
ceased to trouble each other with the war-cries of Bianchi and 
Neri, expresses a melancholy thankfulness and subdued 
humour, which is characteristic both of him and of Florence 
about A. D. 1300. As has been said, Dante is there in youth ; 
he was in exile with the Bianchi in 1303. We know not how 
far his features had changed into their fixed look of enduring 
anger in the days when Giotto and he were together in 
Verona during the completion of the Arena Chapel in 1306. 
Their friendship ended only with Dante's death in 1321, and 
one cannot help comparing the position and career of the 
exiled poet and the prosperous painter. Perhaps the fore- 
most cause of exemption from political troubles enjoyed by 
the latter was the humility of his position. As all know, a 
painter of early days, qua painter, was not a gentleman in a 
studio, but a craftsman in a bottega (a shop), though of course 
if he were noble, like Cimabue, he ranked with his family, and 
took their fortunes. Yet Cimabue lived in the stormy times of 
Guelfs and Ghibellines, and must have seen all the domestic 
tragedies of the Florentine civic feuds of Buondelmonti and 
Uberti, without himself suffering exile or loss. The con- 
nexions between all the leading painters and the religious 

G 



82 HISTORICAL. 

houses, and the constant employment of the former on 
dedicated work, and within walls exempted from plunder and 
destruction, must have done much to keep them from public 
affairs and their troubles. Cimabue and Giotto, like their 
successors, were citizens of the world, employed by popes, 
cardinals, kings, and nobles, from Verona to Naples ; and the 
latter was to have visited Avignon. But still to the time of 
Ghirlandajo and afterwards, the painter as such continues to 
be a simple trading workman of the upper sort, in the same 
position as a goldsmith or fine metal-worker. In very many 
instances this latter ' mystery ' was the first which gave em- 
ployment to the young artist. Orcagna, Verrochio, Ghiberti, 
Ghirlandajo and Durer, are all examples of men who learnt 
that exactness and precision, which, if not power, are indis- 
pensable to right use of power, from dealing early with a 
precious material, and continual effort to make the work 
equal in value to that material. We follow or coincide with 
the views of both Mr. Crowe and Mr. Ruskin, in choosing 
three names beside that of Ghirlandajo as those of typical 
men, whose different characters and lines of Art, as well as 
their great success in it, give them chief claim on the atten- 
tion of the student. He who enjoys the advantages of 
Italian travel must never pass without attention a work of 
Masaccio, of Fra Angelico, of Orcagna, or Ghirlandajo ; and 
copies, engravings, and photographs will do something for 
stayers at home, especially after careful use of the works of 
the authors above mentioned. They form between them a 
body of pictorial history, biography, criticism, and natural 
history which excuses our frequent reference to them. For 
a student of the early Renaissance, the name of Sandro 
Botticelli 1 is fully equal in importance to any of these : and 
as both a naturalist in execution, and an idealist, for the most 
part, in his choice of subject, he stands by the side of 
Masaccio ; both in landscape and historical or allegoric 
painting. But his great inventiveness and Greek delight in 
all natural beauty are qualities which cannot be inculcated 
or taught in any handbook. He is now well represented in 
our National Gallery, and every student of Art should pay 



ORCAGNA AND ANGEL1CO, 83 

earnest attention to his works. But they, or good renderings 
of them, are somewhat too difficult of access to be commonly 
referred to in a work intended for British or American 
students. The best modern account of him, besides that 
in Crowe and Cavalcaselle, is in Professor Ruskin's 'Fors 
Clavigera ' and Oxford Lectures on Florentine Engraving : 
also in Mr. Pater's studies on the Renaissance. 

As Vasari says, ' Giotto threw open the gates of painting, 
which Cimabue however had done much to unlock, for him 
and for others. The former stands at the point of divergence 
between the purist and naturalist schools of painting, or 
rather his character stood between the purist and naturalist 
character of painters. When the works of Fra Angelico and 
Orcagna are compared with those of Masaccio and Ghir- 
landajo, the divergence is complete. Botticelli's religious 
melancholy led him to relinquish even Sacred Art in his last 
days. Angelico's inspiration of the purely religious temper, 
Orcagna's of the severely religious temper with a tendency to 
gloom ; that of Ghirlandajo, the naturalist painter of men, and 
that of Masaccio, the naturalist formed to grapple with all 
nature, are sharply enough contrasted. It is not simply that 
the first two were religious painters, and the last two irreligious. 
The mind of Domenico Ghirlandajo seems to have been simple, 
pious, and charitable as a monk's : but Angelico withdrew from 
the world, and the others lived in it. Both Masaccio's and 
Ghirlandajo's Art is willingly dedicated to sacred subject, 
and they faithfully exert themselves in it. But they are 
painters and fishers of men : their eyes see no monk's visions ; 
they have before them the action and the life of God's 
visible world and its chief creature. Their hope and faith in 
the world to come is true and undoubting : but while they are 
here they are called to paint what is here, and to reflect the 
past in their imaginations for the instruction of their brethren 
here. The illustration of Holy Scripture is the common 
ground of all these men, and their chief work ; as they felt 
it to be in common with the rest of their age. The difference 
of their treatment is that of their natures and characters ; 
and as their works remain close to each other in Florence 
and Pisa to this day, the traveller has excellent opportunities 

G 2 



8*4 HISTORICAL. 

of comparing them. Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle's illus- 
trations, if not perfect, are still of the greatest value in this 
respect to the student of Art-history : and now that the 
facilities of travel are so much greater than ever before, and 
tourists are proportionally more numerous, we may hope that 
a gradually increasing number of them will be inclined to 
pay more attention to the works of past inspiration which 
are still bright on the walls of Assisi, and Padua, and Pisa. 
The Campo Santo at the latter city has special claim to 
our attention, as some of the best-known works of Orcagna, 
or at least, works which till of late have been undoubtingly 
attributed to him, are there in the immediate neighbourhood 
of those of Benozzo Gozzoli, the pupil of Angelico. There 
must have been something like occasional approach to 
happiness in the painter's half-conventual life in those days. 
Angelico's labour of rapturous devotion is an example 
quite literal, and historically certain, of the highest phases 
of religious ecstasy. Perhaps it was attained only by main- 
taining a certain ignorance of the thoughts and ways and 
troubles of the world, and escaping from its responsibilities 
by submission to a constant rule of passive obedience. The 
same temperament is exactly described in Sir James Stephen's 
Life of Mabillon : there are the same anecdotes of solemnly 
appointed prayers before the beginning of every work, and 
during its progress, and at its end ; of ennobling labours 
on bent knees, and tears of devout delight and tenderness : 
and it is difficult to conceive of more beautiful historical 
pictures of rare character than the lives of both these men 
afford us. Both are types of the happiest growth of all the 
monastic virtues ; and contemporary Art-history and anecdote 
shew the rarity of such growth. Not only was an unaffected 
and special veneration felt for them by their brethren, their 
partial imitators, and the outer world, which distinguishes 
them from others ; but their brethren in Art, as well as their 
brethren in the cloister, seem to have taken an entirely 
different and much more practical view of painting as a 
matter of business. As a Dominican brother beloved and 
venerated, Angelico was free of the artistic and conventual 
world alike. His labour was his reward : he was separated 



CLOISTER ART. 85 

from the world. We cannot say what he lost by it, in 
necessary narrowness of mind, and inability to conceive of 
the toils, the strength, the action, and the suffering of his 
fellows l ; but we know what Florence and the world have 
gained by his loss, his isolation and his labours, to this day. 
Few can walk through the old convent of San Marco and 
see the frescoes which yet shine in its corridors with a 
tender brilliancy in them, like their author's fame in the 
sight of God and man and not own the beauty and the 
worth of contemplative life. It does not take a very lively 
imagination to call up the image of Savonarola, pacing to 
and fro in meditation on the sermons which bore witness 
in vain against Alexander VI and the power of evil ; we 
cannot help fancying how often his musing eye must have 
passed over the well-remembered representation of the Lord's 
entrance into Hades and the fiend crushed beneath his fallen 
prison-doors. But while the brother of Fiesole worked on 
his knees within his cell, scenes of a strictly business-like 
and worldly character were going on without. Apostles and 
Madonnas were being chaffered for at so much the braccia. 
However, during his lifetime it is unlikely that his Prior would 
think it necessary to employ other painters ; so that Ange- 
lico's skill may have saved himself and his brethren from the 
necessity of driving hard bargains. But the anecdotes about 
the brothers Ghirlandajo and their rebellion against the monks 
of Passignano ; of the strict watch kept over Perugino and 
his ultramarine ; and of Paolo Uccello and the cheese 2 , 
shew us a much humbler phase of artistic and conventual 
life, and enable us to understand the rather impartial and 
humorous views of Giotto, and the severer anger of Orcagna, 
who in his Infernos, like Dante or Moses, spareth none, monk 
or cavalier, and knoweth not to have mercy. It is impossible 
here to discuss the question raised in the history of early 
Christian Art, as to Orcagna's authorship of the Triumph of 
Death and the Last Judgment of the Campo Santo at Pisa. 

1 He must have known much of their sufferings, since his love for the poor was 
proverbial. Nor do we see what good he could have done by taking his share in 
the ' rugging and riving ' of Bianchi and Neri, and being exiled with Dante, torn to 
pieces with Corso Donati, or hanged and burnt with Savonarola. 

2 See Vasari sub nominibus. 



86 HISTORICAL. 

The Inferno is so nearly destroyed by time, sea-winds, and 
particularly by Solazzino's restoration, that no one would be 
inclined to dispute about it. But the name of Orcagna as a 
painter is as thoroughly identified with the Triumph of Death, 
as his architectural reputation is bound up with the Loggia; and 
in historical sketches like these we may still be allowed to refer 
it to his name, under protest. The painter or chief designer 
of those works, whoever he may have been, is a person to be 
compared with Giotto and Angelico, whether he be resolved 
into Andrew and Bernardo. Cione (the former styled 
L'Arcagnolo and corrupted into Orcagna) or if the other 
three brothers Cione be admitted. If we are to take Messrs. 
Crowe's hypothesis, we must say that it is all Siennese work 
that of the two Lorenzetti. By any other name the fresco 
would look as terrible ; and though the Strozzi paintings on 
the same subjects, which are undoubtedly Orcagna's, are said 
to differ in important features of treatment from those of the 
Campo Santo, we must leave the question of their authorship 
open \ There is no question that their painter came to his 
work full of the spirit of Giotto ; or that he lived in the full 
current of Italian and Florentine life. But he is also im- 
pressed with old tones of thought, and full of that severity of 
judgment, which came down from Eastern asceticism on the 
minds of Byzantine mosaicists, and through them into Italy, 
with Belisarius' conquests and the rule of the Eastern Empire ; 
or by way of Torcello and Venice. All the work has the 
dreadful earnestness of the Judgment of Torcello, and is also 
carried out in detail with laborious power of realization un- 
known to Eastern minds or hands. There are the hermits, 
secured in strong places and holes of ragged rocks from the 
temptations of the fatal world below, milking the hind, and 
at peace with all the wild and timid beasts of the field. 
There is the grim S. Macarius, once hermit of the Thebaid, 
who dwelt in the marshes of Scete, to enjoy the society of 
their powerful mosquitoes ; whose convent and rule of dis- 
cipline remain there to this day (see Curzon), and whose 
followers fast the whole year, excepting Sundays and the 

1 Our own last view of this fresco inclines us to think that its points of 
resemblance to the Campo Santo works in faces and forms prevail over all 
differences. 



THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH. 87 

Great Fifty days, speaking to no man without leave. He 
leads the Dance of Death in Northern Art, or directs men's 
thoughts to it, as S. Francis at Assisi points to the crowned 
skeleton who in this world has his victory. But there is here 
none of that grotesque Gothic humour which jests with death 
in sheer combative defiance, or of that general hope of mercy, 
firm if childlike and illogical, which is here and there sug- 
gested in the Swiss or German treatment of the subject ; as 
where Death bids the old noble come with him, like a good 
sword 1 worn out. Dwelling continually on the universal 
change of Death, and hopelessness of escape, the Teutonic 
workmen seem rather to bid men be of good cheer and depart 
in hope. It is not so with him of the Campo Santo. All is 
dreadful severity. The Lord is as clearly speaking the words 
of doom as in Michael Angelo's painting in the Sistine 
Chapel 2 . The Madonna sits by Him in helpless distress: 

1 ' Du edel Degen.' The German mediaeval lays perpetually call a Knight a 
Degen or sword ; hence this play on the word in the Dance of Death. On this 
subject see Dr. Woltmann's ' Holbein and his Times,' an admirable new work. 
Leipsic, 1867. 

2 This passage is true as far as it goes, and I leave it as it was written. But it 
would be utterly incomplete without the modification and enlargement it receives 
from the following passage of Prof. Ruskin's Lectures for 1873, ' Val d'Arno,' 
p. 194, which is here commended to the gravest attention of all comers, for various 
reasons. 

' 253. For a single instance, you know Michael Angelo is admitted to have 
been so far indebted to these goffi as to borrow from the one to whose study of 
mortality I have just referred, Orcagna, the gesture of his Christ in the Judgment. 
He borrowed, however, accurately speaking, the position only, not the gesture ; 
nor the meaning of it.* You all remember the action of Michael Angelo's Christ 
the right hand raised as if to cast a thunderbolt ; and the left closed across His 
breast, as refusing all mercy. The action is one which appeals to persons of very 
ordinary sensations, and is very naturally adopted by the Renaissance painter, both 
for its popular effect, and its capabilities for the exhibition of his surgical science. 
But the old painter-theologian, though indeed he showed the right hand of Christ 
uplifted, and the left hand laid across His breast, had another meaning in the 
actions. The fingers of the left hand are folded in both the figures ; but in 
Michael Angelo's as if putting aside an appeal ; in Orcagna's, the fingers are bent 
to draw back the drapery from the right side. The right hand is raised by 
Michael Angelo as in reprobation ; by Orcagna only to show the wounded palm. 
And, as to the believing disciples, He showed them his hands and His side, so that 
they were glad so. to the unbelievers at their judgment, He shows the wounds in 
hand and side. They shall look on him whom they pierced.' 

* As Professor Ruskin mentions, this interpretation is given in Didron's Icono- 
graphia, from which he repeats it, but with a force peculiarly his own. 



88 HISTORICAL. 

Raphael the Archangel hides his face from the sight before 
him : other angels weep and wring their hands, or strive 
horribly with the brute-shaped fiends who are tearing away 
the children of men from the indignant Presence. There is 
no safety or hope except in flight from the world. And the 
world is below, and its ways. Macarius bids the three kings 
or nobles look on death and corruption, with a hard unloving 
expression which has nothing in it except Cras Tibi ; and 
which is as sharply contrasted with Raphael's face, as the 
wrath of Dante with the tenderness of Angelico. Uguccione 
della Faggiuola of Arezzo is there, the kinsman of Corso 
Donati and hated enemy of Florence, who had used his brief 
rule over Pisa and Lucca to inflict on her the severe defeat of 
Montecatini l . 

Next to them Death is turning her back on the poor and 
aged and afflicted who invoke her, and flying furiously on 
broad black wings upon the young and rich amidst their 
careless feasting under orange-boughs. With them is another 
foe of Florence, Castruccio Castracani 2 , who succeeded to 
the power of Uguccione, and had nearly ruined her in the 
calamitous battle of Allepascio. When this picture was 
painted Uguccione was in exile with Can Grande, and Cas- 
truccio had been hewn down indeed, in a good hour for 
Orcagna's native city. The broad scythe of Death is raised 
against him, as he sits among fair luxurious forms, hawk on 
fist ; and just beyond them lies the harvest of the earth, a 
heap of corpses with wonderful realization of death on their 
rigid faces. Angels or devils are drawing their souls from 
their mouths, as new-born children, the fiends having the 
greater part, and fearful distinctness being given to the 
sudden horror of the soul recreated unto destruction as it 
finds itself in the claws of the enemy. The flight of Death 
is all speed and propelling power ; and the side-swing of her 
body in its course to give the scythe its full reach, shews 
how true and definite was the painter's inner vision of the 
forms he drew. The angelic faces are of great expression 

1 Two thousand men perished there, says Machiavelli, book ii. ch. v. He speaks 
of Uguccione as having ' by means of the Ghibelline party made himself master of 
Pisa and Lucca.' He reduced Lucca as general or lord of Pisa. 

a See Fors Clavigera, vol. xviii., p. 8-10. 



HORROR IN ART. 89 

and beauty ; but what is more remarkable is the life of the 
strange creations which represent the enemies of mankind. 
They are all types of brutish natures, yet unlike any given 
brutes : they grin and chatter and snarl, and shew bristly 
muzzles and beaks and white teeth, and have that peculiarly 
disgusting effect about them which is always involved in the 
idea of a hoofed or clawed creature which walks erect and 
asserts itself humanly. Their expression, so to call it, seems 
to be composed in the painter's mind partly from the rodent 
and partly from the canine face. Most of those who have 
seen the fresco, or a good photograph from it, will remember 
the beastly expostulation and complaint of the creature who 
is tugging in vain at the heels of the fat and tonsured soul 
whom the angel will have, in spite of him : he has the in- 
tensely biting expression of an enraged otter or badger I 
cannot think of any better comparison. And it seems as if 
no one but Orcagna, or some equal of his, I do not care for 
the name, could give in such an archaic composition the 
helpless pendence and the hideous scream of the poor soul 
hanging by the heels in the clutches of that other, on the left, 
near the pit's mouth. Angelico painted on his knees. I do 
not see how Orcagna could have painted flat on his face ; 
but certainly, if position has anything to do with subject, he 
might well have done so. And in fact, the most wonderful 
thing of all about the mediaeval Infernos, written or painted, 
by Dante or Orcagna, or earlier Byzantines," is the question 
how living men and brethren could have deliberately painted 
them at all. It is quite a different matter from the questions 
which may arise to the minds of Christianly-taught men of 
the present day who have to look at Gustave Dore. His 
horrors are those of an infidel trader in horror. So much 
pay from the moral and enlightened English public of the 
nineteenth century, and he will give them a due quantity of 
blood, brains, intestines, fire, writhing, howling, and outer 
darkness, manufactured in a steady business-like way, with 
an inspiration (or rather a possession) which seems perennial 
<TK>P advav, but is at all events preferable to the pious 
burlesques which are exacted of him by the religious views 
of the British public. But there is something very hard to 



9 o HISTORICAL. 

understand in the methodical and unsparing way in which 
men of great and thoughtful spirit could consign political 
enemies to damnation : and not political foes alone. One 
need not dwell very much, perhaps, on Vasari's statement 
that it was Orcagna's invariable habit to put his personal 
enemies into the hot corners of his Infernos. 'Among the 
condemned,' says the biographer, speaking of the lost Santa 
Croce fresco, which repeated the subjects of the Campo Santo 
of Pisa, ' Orcagna has placed Guardi, serjeant of the commune 
of Florence, whom the devil drags along by a hook ; he is 
distinguished by the three red lilies in his white cap, then the 
accustomed head-dress of Serjeants, beadles, and others of 
that class. This Andrea did because Guardi had seized his 
goods for debt. The judge and notary who had acted against 
him on the same occasion were similarly represented by the 
painter among the sinners of the Inferno/ This kind of 
savage jest, or earnest, seems to throw a rather disagreeable 
light on the Faith of the Middle Ages, and inclines one to 
think that men who handed over their neighbour to eternal 
fire, or played with the thought of so doing, could not have 
much conviction of its actual reality, or of the fearfulness 
of actual judgment of the souls of men. Perhaps it is true 
that the sharp Florentines were able to nurse, mature, and 
sustain an intensity of personal hatred which the rougher yet 
softer Transalpine spirit did not care to be burdened with. It 
is probably true that civic strife is the worst of all strife. The 
deadly enmities of Italy were split up and divided over and 
over again, without losing their intensity in the least, till 
Florentines sought each other's utter destruction, house against 
house, as city warred with city all over Italy, and state against 
state ; all their divided quarrels, like divided worms, growing 
into perfect reptilehood again 1 . As Hallam, following Sis- 
mondi, remarks of the Italian Republics, they played over 

1 Orcagna died before 13/6-7. Two years after that date, broke out a series of 
desperate popular struggles first between the Albizzi, heading the Parte Guelfa, 
and the Ricci and others of the Ammoniti, or families disfranchised by them ; then 
of the middle classes against the Minor Arts of Florence and the Ciompi, or 
populace. The names of Salvestro de Medici, Filippo Strozzi the elder, Benedetto 
degli Alberti, and, not least, of Michael Lando, are those of the chief actors of the 
lime. All must have been ripe for savage contest about the end of Orcagna's 
days. Angelico, Masaccio, and Ghirlandajo were born clear of the evil time. 



IT A LI AN HA TRED. 9 1 

again the tragedies of the free states of ancient Greece ; and 
the celebrated eighty-second chapter of Thucydides' third 
book applies as exactly to Italian life and character in the 
Middle Ages as to the Greeks of the Peloponnesian war : 
' Many troubles and grievous fell upon the cities in their 
seditions, things such as happen, and will for ever be happen- 
ing, while the nature of men is what it is V Even painters 
must have shared in the national and civic desperation of 
spirit which seems to have gone on exciting and exhausting 
the whole Italian mind till it was spent as with fever. Mr. 
Hallam does not often permit himself any expression of 
feeling about character ; but he makes a remark with which 
it is difficult not to sympathize, when he says that he cannot 
forgive Dante for placing Farinata Uberti, who had saved his 
native city from the furious revenge of his party, in one of 
the worst circles of his Inferno. Orcagna may have had 
better reason for painting Death about to strike Castruccio 
Castracani, since he, perhaps, had but lately died to the sal- 
vation of Florence. And Dante, again, may plead, in sad 
excuse, that with the impartial severity of the Byzantine, he 
condemns his own friends too, and spares Francesca di Rimini 
no more than Cleopatra ; though he falls as one dead on 
seeing her in bale, whom he had known as child and maiden. 
However this may be, where blood and wounds were seen 
continually, and torture was a judicial institution, no doubt 
men would feel less horror and disgust in representing such 
things, and might do it innocently : which is, to say the least, 
extremely difficult now. 

Orcagna's work (or that of the Lorenzetti) in the Campo 
Santo is specially important, as that of a true successor of 
Giotto, who combined vast and intense imagination with 
technical power and zeal'for realization. All the old questions 
between grand-style and finish, Idealism and Realism, are 
anticipated and answered by it, in point of fact. If Idealism 
be great imagination of great things, it is here ; if Realism be 
the careful carrying out of subject into detail, and of great 
subject into specially devoted detail, like perfect music set to 

1 'EireVefff woAXii icai x a ^ flr ^ xa-ra araffiv rafs iruktai, ytyvofjitva plv xal atl 
caw av f) OUTT) Averts avOpwircwrj. 



92 HISTORICAL. 

noble words, it is here. Everything is carried out faithfully 
to the utmost of the painter's power, even to the thorny 
teazles and thistles in the foreground. The 'intolerably 
severe' tone of his mind, perhaps, indicates a certain in- 
feriority to Giotto, who, like most humorous persons, seems 
always great by reserved force, and whose evident conscious- 
ness of two sides to a question is quite nieteenth-century 
English. How infinite is the difference between both these 
men and Angelico! If it be true that time, circumstance, 
and his century make the man, and that we are all ground 
out from the wheels of fate like screws out of a lathe, how 
is it that the same age had these men in it, doing the same 
thing with all their hearts and minds in such a different way ? 
However this may be, Angelico represents the milder and 
more loveable part of the monastic or contemplative life. 
The resemblance between his character and that of Mabillon 
has already been glanced at ; and they may rightly be put 
together as men who combined great intellectual power with 
all the best of the peculiarly ascetic qualities. There is no 
occasion to enlarge on the virtues of the cloister only the 
history of these men and their contemporaries, secular and 
monastic, proves sufficiently that those virtues are as rare in 
their perfection as the virtues of the purely secular life. But 
Angelico was indeed one of those chosen ascetics, beyond 
the praise of man, who can give the world up without despising 
it, resign social life without hostility to society, and hate sin, 
still loving the sinner. Vasari was doubtless an offender 
against many rules, including that of historical truth ; but he 
seems to have had a genuine enough feeling of admiration 
and respect for the brother of Fiesole ; and his sensible plati- 
tudes about Angelico's withdrawal from the world seem to 
indicate that Florentines, in and about 1550-1568, were not less 
conscious of the difficulty of making the best of both worlds 
three hundred years ago than our own good people now, nor 
less acute or sound in their judgment as to ways and means 
of so doing. I rather think Vasari has been called the 
Boswell of many Johnsons : and he has all Boswell's many 
good qualities without his tendency to display and strong 
liquors. Above all, he has that one of the biographer's great 



ANGELICO. 93 . 

qualifications which Boswell shewed in such grotesque per- 
fection ; he generally thinks his subjects superior to himself, 
and always forgets himself and his self-consciousness in doing 
them full justice. Hear him on Angelico : ' He might have 
lived in the world very comfortably, and might have gained 
whatever he desired over and above what he first possessed : 
but he seems to have chosen for his content and quiet's sake, 
being by nature gentle and kind, and especially for the 
salvation of his soul, to profess religion in the order of the 
Preaching Friars ' the Dominicans of San Marco at Florence 
and San Domenico at Fiesole) 'for although it is certain 
that one may serve God in all conditions of life, nevertheless 
it appears to some that they can better be saved in monas- 
teries than in the world. And in proportion as this course 
succeeds well with good men, so great, on the contrary, is the 
danger of being truly most miserable and unhappy, to those 
who become religious persons with any other motive.' 

This is exactly parallel to Giotto's verses on Poverty, after 
long acquaintance with the Franciscans at Assisi in which 
he arrives at the conclusion that Poverty is a thoroughly bad 
thing, after all, for the world in general. Had he known 
Angelico, he would probably have understood and sympa- 
thized with him even better than Vasari did. There are fifty- 
one years between the birth of the one and the death of the 
other ; and Angelico, says Vasari, began Art-work very 
early, by missal painting and miniature. A few service-books 
adorned by his hands still remain in San Marco. His first 
frescoes in Santa Maria Novella perished when the church 
was altered, and others have been grievously restored or 
otherwise defaced : including the great works in the convent 
of S. Mark. In fact, it seems that a large class of men in 
all ages and countries care for painting about equally that 
is to say, not at all and are affected also with a kind of dull 
spite against what they cannot understand. The taste for 
whitewash indiscriminately applied over fresco and carving 
has been just as great in Italy as in England, and the destruc- 
tion it has wrought has been proportionately greater. The 
Marchese Selvatico l makes reasonable and bitter complaints 

1 See note to Mrs. Forster's translation of Vasari. Bohn, 1851. 



94 HISTORICAL. 

about the frescoes of Andrea Mantegna (or Giotto, as he says) 
in the Chapter-house of the Friars Minors at Padua. They 
were whitewashed over many years since, but partly freed 
with great pains and labour ; when, ' who could have imagined 
it?' says the Marchese, 'the friars are mad for the "candido ;" 
they took the whitening-brush and covered them over again.' 
Orcagna's frescoes in Santa Maria Novella had to be, not 
restored, but altogether replaced by Ghirlandajo, who did 
honour to them, however, with all the straightforward dignity 
of his character, by avowedly repeating their designs wherever 
he could. 

Angelico's works mark the greatest height of excellence in 
Devotional-Purist-Art which has ever been reached : there 
never has been any such Religious painter before or since, in 
the more restricted sense of the word Religious. Christian 
Art, as has been said before, is the Art of Christian men 
doing their best with high and lofty purpose as teachers or 
poets ; Religious or devotional work is that of devout men 
preaching or praying in form and colour : and such was 
Angelico's, all through his life of prayer. In these days, 
when all men are so convinced that work is worship that they 
neglect prayer altogether, he is in far greater danger of being 
underrated than overvalued : living altogether in the world as 
we do, we care for no monk's visions, not even though he be 
the greatest monk who ever laboured. Yet the same men 
who think of Angelico as a mere devout rhapsodist, cannot 
see the spiritual power of Michael Angelo : and we may, 
perhaps, add in passing, that no man who cannot reverence 
and delight in the greatest monk of Italy, will see the best 
of her greatest man whichever of the three be greatest, 
Dante, Michael Angelo, or Tintoret* For narrowness, the 
Brother's works have all the breadth of his great charity : 
and extraordinary purity and exaltation of aim fully make 
up for what he may have wanted in mental calibre or stature, 
so called. ' He lives in perpetual peace. No seclusion from 
the world, no shutting out of the world, is needful for him : 
there is nothing to shut out. Envy, lust, contention, dis- 
courtesy, are to him as though they were not ; and the cloister 
walk of Fiesale no penitential solitude, barred from the stir 



MOUNTAIN DRA WING. 95 

and joy of life, but a possessed land of tender blessing, 
guarded from the entrance of all but the holiest sorrow V In 
so far as it is possible for any man of our own times to make 
an unaffected choice of him as a model and master, his work 
is the most characteristic of all the Purist school ; and could 
disciples of his be employed to ornament modern churches 
with painted histories of the Faith, a means of teaching and 
exhortation would be employed which is now far too much 
neglected and suspected. Nor do we see why superior science 
and greater skill in form and natural phenomena, or even 
greater experience of mankind, or higher innate powers of 
mind, should prevent a student who holds the Christian Creed 
in earnest from learning very much from him. The great 
thing for any student of his works to remember is, that when, 
or if ever, he betakes himself to the highest of all tasks 
that is to say, whenever he tries to paint what Angelico 
painted he has no right to neglect what Angelico par- 
donably neglected. Knowledge of and attention to Nature 
and the outward and inanimate beauty of God's creation, 
were not to be expected of a conventual painter in those 
days. It was for Masaccio to point out the path to such 
sources of beauty, though his early death prevented his 
leading men far along it ; so that Ghirlandajo's backgrounds 
are often as simply conventional and inattentive as Giotto's. 
Rock and mountain drawing in particular made little advance 
from Giotto to Ghirlandajo : although all the Religious 
painters, North and South of the Alps 2 , seem to have de- 
lighted in craggy and peaked forms, and sometimes in distant 
snow, as background for their saints and Madonnas. This is 
of course connected with the mediaeval view of mountains 
and wildernesses as places of penance and meditation : but 
for whatever reason, Angelico and his brethren only painted 
them conventionally, with simple pleasure, in bright pure 
green and blue and purple. When a devout man, never 
taught to look at Nature as a visible manifestation of God's 
work, is painting Saints and Angels from the inner vision, 
they are in the foreground of his mind to some purpose ; and 

1 Modern Painters, vol. v. 

2 Compare especially the great Van-Eyck in the Louvre, and Durer passim. 



96 HISTORICAL. 

as he gives his greatest powers to imagine and realize them, 
so he gives not much thought, but conventional care and a 
different kind of affection, to composing a fit background for 
them ; with delicately tufted trees, not very like real trees * ; 
with glittering villages and spires, and delicately shaped peaks 
and ridges in distance. In short, it must be admitted that 
the true Purists were wanting in much knowledge of the 
landscape forms, which seem to be the only things in Art for 
which we out-of-door ultramontanes at present care. But our 
narrowness in thinking of Angelico as a mere monk, and 
quarrelling with Durer for want of aerial perspective, is a 
worse fault than Angelico's only thinking about angels, or 
Ghirlandajo's only thinking about men. It is still reserved 
for modern artists to combine Turner's knowledge of natural 
beauty, or some inheritance of it greater or smaller, with 
devout or lofty figure subject ; and great things have already 
been done in our own schools. For instance, the four square 
inches of landscape in Holman Hunt's Finding in the Temple 
are a concentration of almost every natural feature one can 
observe on the western side of the Mount of Olives at this 
day ; and the picture would not gain in its impressiveness by 
having, instead of them, a Peruginesque river serpentining 
away into blue distance, with forests and spires upon its 
banks. So of the Scapegoat and the Light of the World : 
so of Millais' streaks of daffodil sky and autumnal distances : 
so with Mr. Herbert's Desert of Sinai ; with Carl Werner's 
landscape Purism ; with Mr. Armitage's and Mr. Leighton's 
higher-aimed works, and with some of Mr. Spencer Stan- 
hope's : the elaborate realism of the landscape and entourage 
does not diminish in the least from the feeling of the figures 
and their action : whether the motive of the work be de- 
votional or ideal, or didactic, or all three. Mr. Ruskin's 
illustration (in 'Modern Painters,' vol. iii. p. 321) puts this 
question very fairly and conclusively. He gives on one page 

1 See Modern Painters, vol. iii. plate xi. p. 320 (from Raphael). Foreground 
flowers, and vegetation close at hand, are, of course, brought to perfection earlier 
than distant landscape, as the work of the illuminators of MSS. from Nature would 
create popular demand for such subject. Sandro Botticelli's roses, and tree- 
painting in general, mark a great advance in naturalism of the purest character. 



RE A LIST B A CKGR UNDS. 97 

a woodcut of a precipice with tufted trees on its crest, from 
one of Ghirlandajo's backgrounds, that of the Baptism of 
Christ. It is copied from a bad engraving, and the picture 
probably shews more rock-knowledge than the print which 
represents it. But nothing can be more quaint, absurd, 
and generally stiff and disagreeable than the whole thing. 
Opposite it is an etching, after Turner, of a parallel subject 
a fragment of one of his cliffs in the drawing of Bolton 
Abbey, wonderful in its accuracy and the soft severity of its 
lines. ' It does not seem to me,' the author remarks, ' that, 
supposing them properly introduced in the composition, the 
substitution of the soft, natural lines for the hard, unnatural 
ones would make Ghirlandajo's background one whit less 
sacred.' 

This will have to be taken into consideration by every one 
who looks at the works of Angelico with a wish to obtain 
lessons from them. The fact is, thoughts are to be obtained 
from them, but few lessons in form. His use of colour is 
extremely beautiful, especially in the brightness of hue in his 
shades ; but his feelings led him always to try to dispense 
with shade and substitute pure and clear colour for it : and it 
would be an intolerable affectation for any student, or indeed for 
any modern painter, to think of following him. The student 
ought to lose no opportunity of examining his works, because 
they are at the very summit of devotional Art, and their 
feeling and purpose shew how real a thing it is. But it is 
impossible to ignore all that has been learnt since his time 
I mean not only in the way of technical processes, and 
grammar of form, colour and perspective, but in that of 
natural facts and phenomena. And supposing, which we 
hope is possible, that our young painter were as devout and 
pure a man as Angelico and could hope for a life of work 
from which worldly care, distress, and temptation should be 
almost excluded, by one painless act of voluntary sacrifice 
even then, in order to begin serious discipleship, he would 
have to possess the power of Hunt, Millais, or Rossetti, and 
to go through the intense labour which enabled them to lead 
the English Pre-Rafaelite school through its tentative stages. 
That school was in its origin a discipline of purism and 

H 



98 HISTORICAL. 

reform : from conventional colour to natural ; in choice of 
noble subject instead of trivial ; and in thoughtful and com- 
pleted finish instead of inane blotting and sham work. Now 
that the training of its masters is complete, they have, in 
some of their work, done almost perfectly what Angelico did 
to the utmost perfection attainable by the technical know- 
ledge of his times. In pure beauty or clear thought they 
have not excelled him, perhaps not equalled him ; but in 
difficulties overcome in pursuit of pure beauty they have done 
more than he. As was to be expected, none of the leading 
Pre-Rafaelites of twenty years ago have given themselves to 
Purist painting, or strained always at religious subject. Of 
the three we have mentioned, two, we suppose, are Realists, 
and the third high in the list of Ideal or purely imaginative 
and fanciful workers : and in fact, if any one were to make 
an affected choice of Angelico's subjects and manner, he 
would, unless he possessed the very highest powers and the 
greatest devotional beauty of character, combine profanity 
with absurdity in a strikingly unpleasant way. 

Yet, like other Religious painters, Angelico shews a power 
of pure brightness of colour, obtained by curiously varied 
means, which is beyond praise. He uses glories of beaten 
gold, which change and reflect different lights as the spectator 
moves, and which therefore throw the purest flesh-colour into 
dark relief : he enamels his angels' wings with wonderful effect 
of light his draperies are pale blue, rose, delicate green : his 
flesh brightly flushed as if penetrated with light. Unless we 
are prepared to choose his subjects, his hues must not be our 
model ; but much may be learnt from them. One lesson as 
to finish is important that his draperies and ornaments are 
of a generic and abstract character, and that supernatural 
subject imposes a limit to realization. Angels in brocaded 
robes, with traceable patterns would never do : and where 
they actually occur in some of Mantegna's and Fillippino 
Lippi's works, the effect is distressing. It is obvious, of 
course, that what becomes an earthly king to wear is worth 
realizing in his portrait, as Titian realizes his Doges' em- 
broidery : but such detail in supernatural subject is out of the 
question. 



LEARNING FROM ANGELICO. 99 

The same remark as that made in Note B to the chapter 
on Giotto, applies to Angelico's models and ideal types of 
feature. They are nearly all of the Lombardo-Gothic type, 
and the Southern or Etruscan face and form are scarcely 
represented in his work. 

There is a beautiful comparison in Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 
vol. i. p. 594, between the Sistine frescoes and Fra Angelico's 
painting in Nicolas V's Chapel in the Vatican, to which the 
reader will do well to refer. But in case the volume be not 
at hand, we here transcribe part of the passage. 

' After visiting the Sistine Chapel, and retiring overwhelmed 
and humbled from the contemplation of the terrible grandeur, 
and the splendid violence done to nature by Michael Angelo ; 
after passing through the Stanze of the Vatican, where the 
most perfect of painters has left his masterpieces the soul 
of the beholder, convulsed by the first, and restored to a more 
natural equilibrium by the second, finds repose and comfort 
in the chapel of Nicholas V. Here, as elsewhere, the paintings 
of Angelico speak to the heart, and inspire love and kind- 
liness. In one edifice, divided by a few walls, one sees in 
close proximity the works of three artists. In Michael Angelo 
we find power, in Rafael form, in Angelico the religious ideal. 
The painter of the Sistine Chapel and the painter of the 
Chapel of Nicolas V were at two opposite poles of art. In 
the first, nature was violently forced for the creation of a 
mighty representation, often accordingly unreal. In the last, 
a sweet self-denying spirit exaggerated the contrary defect, 
yet still succeeded in imparting a grand idea.' 



V. 

MASACCIO. 

EVERY historical sketch of the progress of Art, however 
slight it may be, necessarily brings the modern student 
into contact with enquiries or speculation about the laws of 
such progress, if there be any. Now, in a practical point of 
view, enquiry about the laws of artistic progress is enquiry 
about the law by which men of genius are produced upon the 
earth ; since almost every advance in the different branches 
of Art may be traced to the virtually unaccountable passion, 
or genius, or inspiration, or possession, of some well-known 
person. Men have been found who were capable of delight 
in the most arid by-ways of Art. Perspective, ' that delightful 
thing,' as he called it, consoled Paolo Uccello in his declining 
days of life and fame : and after the study of it had passed 
through his hands and Masaccio's, the whole science of 
drawing was changed ; although the diffusion of their know- 
ledge was of course a matter of long time. Form and 
anatomical knowledge were afterwards carried forward by 
Rafael and Michael Angelo, like a standard before the host 
of painters, to a point which no man's strength has since 
attained. Yet Rafael and Michael Angelo avowedly and 
faithfully studied from Masaccio's works in the Brancacci 
Chapel 1 , as their masters had studied before them. Vasari 
mentions Perugino and Ghirlandajo, with Leonardo and Fra 
Bartolomeo, and others of the greatest names in Italian Art, 
all learners from Masaccio ; and Lanzi considers that the 
wonderful figure of the 'Shivering Youth' in the fresco of 
S. Peter Baptizing, is in itself 'an epoch in the history of 

1 In the Carmine Church at Florence. 



MA SAC CIO. 10 1 

Art.' It is indeed so, as it displays the right degree of 
Realism in its right place, subdued to, and labouring for, 
the perfection of lofty subject. Masaccio did not want to 
call particular attention to the incident ; he seemed to see 
it himself, and he wrote it down vividly for others. A vulgar 
workman would have tried to make the spectator's teeth 
chatter: here there is no effort the youth's eyes are fixed 
on S. Peter, and he is not thinking of the cold, but of his 
baptism. But he is cold, and it is the unconscious crossing of 
his arms and quiver of his splendid muscles which has made 
the picture instructive and admirable in the eyes of all 
painters ever since. But as a part of the composition, he is 
not meant to be the principal figure ; his broad arms lead the 
eye to the head of his brother in Christ receiving baptism 
next before him ; and to S. Peter's hand administering, and 
to the apostle's face and look of invitation towards him. 
There is no possible law or ' natural ' sequence of causes and 
effects which can account for the sudden appearance in Art of 
a young man capable of painting figures like this. M. Taine's 
comparison of Italy through the Middle Ages to an artistic 
vineyard, and of all her greatest painters to vines at exactly 
the right height, soil, and exposure, is a pleasing analogy as 
far as it goes, and of considerable value ; but it is valuable 
because it illustrates the difficulties of Art for Northern races, 
and shews them the labour which is before them : not because 
it accounts for Masaccio and Michael Angelo as if they were 
vegetables. It leaves unnoticed the fact that the latter drew 
much of his sap and juices from the former ; as also that 
Michael Angelo's pupils or suckers could never assimilate 
his genius, or get anything from him except technical science 
which they had not power to use. Nor does it explain why, 
on the favoured slope and within the favoured period, men of 
such different flavour as Angelico and Masaccio, Rafael and 
Michael Angelo, all grew and flourished within reach of each 
other's influence. 

We do not care to go into the question of the power of 
circumstances over man, and the spirit that is given to man. 
Italy, and the teaching of Leonardo, could not ' make ' Ban- 
dinelli great : and London and no teaching at all ' made ' 



102 HISTORICAL. 

Blake and Turner at least peers of painting, to be named 
with Buonarotti. At all events, creative genius ought not 
simply to be treated by science as an intrusive element which 
defies analysis ; or to be exorcised with the common form of 
' artistic temperament,' ' picturesque national tendencies,' and 
the like. Nor, indeed, can it be satisfactorily accounted for 
on materialistic grounds, seeing that such means of expla- 
nation are at present quite unequal to its phenomena ; and 
moreover that they give those who hold by them no right 
to point to any future time, when analysis shall be able to 
enumerate the constituent elements of the soul of Masaccio, 
for instance. His contemporaries complained rather grievously 
and vituperatively, that the elements of order, arrangement, 
series, and method, were omitted entirely from the composi- 
tion of Tommaso, ' son of the notary Ser Giovanni di Simone 
Guidi, of the family of Scheggia, holding property about 
the Castello 1 San Giovanni in Val d'Arno.' The nickname 
Masaccio is decidedly uncomplimentary, the very contrary to 
such titles as Giorgione or the more respectful Angelico. 
Masaccio is said to mean Big, Stupid, or Heavy Thomas. 
Mr. Browning construes it Hulking 2 . Let us call Masaccio 
Tardy, or rather Thundering Thomas. Very likely he earned 
the name. Nothing worse than a consistent determination to 
paint incessantly, and to do nothing else whatever, is alleged 
against him. Vasari says he was good and kind-hearted, but 
utterly negligent and regardless of himself, though willing to 
do anything for others. Still in sharp Florence we can 
imagine that a person 'whose answers were horribly vague,' 
and who assumed all the rights of an absent man in an irre- 
sistible manner, may have been rather irritating to his friends, 
and intolerably so to his enemies. Michael Angelo's supreme 
forgetfulness of all earthly considerations while the brush or 
chisel was in his hand was of the same character as Masaccio's ; 
but his rank and the strong regard of Lorenzo di Medici 
secured him from the principal consequences of poetic ab- 

1 Perhaps only ' hill-farm.' Italian for ' chalet,' ' chatelet,' ' chateaulet,' &c. 

' Norica si quis 
Castella in ttimulis.' (Virg. Georg. iii.) 

2 See the wonderfully thoughtful and instructive poem of ' Fra Lippo Lippi.' 



MASACCIO' S DEBTS. 103 

straction. We have partly seen how Florence treated the 
works of her greatest men, and that monks were as prone to 
whitewash as modern churchwardens. The best workman 
did not always find the best patron, even in mediaeval days ; 
and the complaint of painters and painters' creditors seems 
to have been an ancient tale of wrong, like that of English 
authors and artists in the good old Grub-street times. As a 
rule, Masaccio and his family seem never to have paid or been 
paid. Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle give a dismal though 
extremely interesting account of the poor master's schedule, 
since even he, they remark, had to give account of his ' totum 
nil' to the Publicans employed by Giovanni di Bicci de 
Medici. He owes so many ducats : against this stand so 
many more which he cannot get from his debtors : his best 
mantle is pawned at the sign of the ' Cow ' or the ' Lion,' and 
he has to pay about thirty per cent, interest on the money 
lent on it : he is tormented with all the meaner miseries, and 
paints away endlessly through all. Such a life was probably 
not so unhappy as it seems. It did not last very long, how- 
ever, though Vasari's statement that Masaccio only lived 
twenty-six years is contradicted by dates in his own work. 
Mr. Crowe's chronology appears quite satisfactory as follows : 
Masaccio is said by Vasari to have returned from Rome on 
Cosmo de Medici's return to power in 1434. This is im- 
possible, as his death in 1429 is certain from the documents 
of the Catasto. See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 527'. 
Now so early as 1420 Giovanni di Bicci de Medici did return 
to power at Florence ; and it appears from documents dis- 
covered by M. Cavalcaselle, that in that year or thereabout 
Masaccio painted Bicci's picture there. In the year 1427 
came the income-tax, and, as has been said, Masaccio had to 
give account of his debts, which were almost his whole 
property. Now one of his Roman pictures, which includes 
the portraits of Martin V and the Emperor Sigismund, is 
said by Vasari to have been highly praised by Michael 
Angelo, in a conversation in which Angelo remarked to 
Vasari that both Pope Martin and the Emperor lived in 
Masaccio's day. And Martin was made Pope in November, 

1 Note A, p. 1 10. 



104 HISTORICAL. 

1417, a year of plague at Florence; when Masaccio may 
have gone to Rome for a time, and may have returned in 
1420. And he is now ascertained to have gone to Rome 
again to die, no one knew how in 1429, leaving the great 
fresco of the King's Son unfinished. His life is divided 
between his earlier works at Florence (one of which, a 
Madonna and Child, remains in the Accademia), his labours 
at Rome (of which the S. Catharine is best known, and drawn 
by the able hand of M. Scharf in the new edition of Kiigler), 
and the paintings of the church of the Carmine and the 
Brancacci Chapel therein, executed after his return to Flor- 
ence in 1434, that is to say, in 1420. The patronage of the 
Medici probably saved him from starvation, as it did Sandro 
Botticelli in after days ; for the rest, he lived entirely in his 
labours, and when he died (no man seems at the time to have 
known or cared how) they buried him among them in the 
Carmien J ; and no memorial was placed over his grave, says 
Vasari, he having been but little esteemed while in life. 
Like Wren, he had done that pretty well for himself. 

Thundering Thomas, probably, was not greatly valued by 
the ordinary population of Florence in his day ; who seem to 
have been, in all grades of life, neither worse nor better than 
respectable people without much heart or intellect are in our 
own time and country : content to let genius take care of 
itself, and as eager to whitewash a great man's frescoes all 
over, as if they were his sepulchre. But Brunelleschi's grave 
remark that Florence had sustained a great loss in Masaccio's 
death 2 was probably echoed by all living painters, and the 
ill-remembered name is rich in the praise of Michael Angelo, 
one of the few men who in their lifetime have not only con- 
sciously possessed immortal honour, but been able to bestow 
it. The long list of other masters who studied Masaccio's 
works, besides Angelico, who was fifteen years older, and can 
hardly have studied them as a disciple, includes Fra Filippo 

1 This seems dubious, as the Cataslo paper of 1430 still exists, partly filled up 
from that of 1427, but sent back with these words in a strange hand ' Dicesi fe 
morto in Roma.' C. & C., vol. i. p. 548. 

2 Masaccio probably gained much of the statuesque power of his works from 
Donatello and Ghiberti, who with Brunelleschi and himself were all at work at the 
same time in Florence. 



LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 105 

Lippi and his son Filippino, Verrochio, Castagna, Ghirlandajo, 
Landro, Leonardo, Perugino, Fra Bartolomeo, and Rafael, 
with Andre del Sarto, and many others named by Vasari, 
who, like every one else, speaks of the Brancacci Chapel as a 
great school of painting. The fact is, that besides his power 
of conception, and the tenacity of mind and rapidity of hand 
which enabled him to realize his inner visions with unpre- 
cedented certainty, Masaccio was the first who really dwelt 
on the fact that man has two eyes, and sees binocularly half 
round an object ; literally not seeing it on a flat plane, but as 
in the stereoscope. Whether he ever spoke of it or not, in 
his time, this is probably the best way of accounting for or 
describing the so-called projection or aerial perspective of his 
works, which distinguishes them from those of his predecessors. 
The distinction between aerial and linear perspective seems 
to us a difficult thing, on the whole, to understand or make 
out. Aerial perspective is really the effect of air made partly 
visible by means of watery or other vapour suspended in it. 
This is no doubt considerable at a considerable distance. But 
in practice it is matter of colouring, and it cannot be appre- 
ciable, nor can it be rightly expressed, except by great 
subtlety of colour, in pictures where a number of persons and 
groups are assembled within a room, or in a court, or square. 
What amount of perceptible dimness can there be, by reason 
of visible air effect, between the two sides of the Grand Piazza 
at Florence, except in rain or fog 1 ? The real projection of a 
near figure depends on drawing ; that is to say, on linear 
perspective ; on the correct modelling of its surface, on well- 
understood action, on labour and power of foreshortening, on 
well-digested and expressed knowledge of form. Obscurity 

1 This was written before I had seen the following remarks by Mr. Hamerton, 
' A Painter's Camp,' p. 243 : 

' The fact is that the dimness of objects does not express their measurable 
distance, but only the humidity or impurity of the atmosphere ; and therefore the 
common theory of aerial perspective is of no use as a test of artistic truth. The 
houses on the opposite side of any London street in a November fog are a good 
deal less visible than the detail of a precipice seen in clear weather across an 
Alpine valley leagues broad. In spite of this, people will have what they call 
aerial perspective, and painters, if they have to live by their art, must confine 
themselves to those conditions of the atmosphere when there is haze enough to 
produce it.' 



106 HISTORICAL. 

without mist or distance is wrong. Flake white is not ex- 
pensive, and mere mist, to ' put figures back,' may be scumbled 
in in any quantity without their being made the least like 
Masaccio. Masaccio seems, from Mr. Crowe's account, to 
have combined the use of transparent and body colour in his 
frescoes. He made a sculpturesque model or relief, first in 
grey or green, then glazed warm transparent reds, browns, 
and yellows over, and finally used thick bright colour to 
' fetch up ' his high lights, as in modern oil-painting. He did 
not stipple, but painted in a swift predetermined way, fully 
anticipating Mulready's dictum, ' Know what you have to do, 
and do it.' Masaccio is to be imitated by sheer drawing, and 
by that alone. Careful rounding in chalk or sepia, and the 
habit of putting down on paper one's natural binocular view 
of an object, will cost the student time, labour, and, what is 
more than all, vigorous attention while he is working. When 
he has gained it, he will not think of sending his background 
off into dimness : his figures will stand forth in truth ; in the 
undeniable reality of true perspective, with that certainty and 
.power which so delighted Paolo Uccello. This great man's 
name is still less remembered than Masaccio's in modern Art ; 
yet Paolo seems, as Mr. Crowe reminds us, to have run a 
parallel course to his, and to have worked out and analysed 
much of that unconscious science of drawing, which in Masaccio 
was pure invention, or rather discovery. The battle of Sant' 
Egidio in our National Gallery is a delightful specimen of his 
powers ; and the dead or supine figure under the horse's feet, 
grotesque and odd as it looks, gives one an idea of Paolo 
Uccello labouring at his darling science, which awakens one's 
personal regard for him, and also a slight sense of amusement 
at him. 

We cannot now pursue the subject of perspective any 
farther. Some remarks, which we owe to Mr. Macdonald, 
of the Oxford Art School, will be in their place in the Second 
or Practical Part of this book. 

There is one more remark a strange and melancholy one 
about Masaccio : that at his early death, at whatever age 
it took place, he seems to have stood on the verge of great 
discoveries in Landscape. He did indeed originate a style ; 



MASACCIffS LANDSCAPE. 107 

that is to say, he just shewed the way to a class of subjects 
and a form of inspiration which, humanly speaking, would 
have changed the history of Art altogether, and produced 
unknown effect for good on human character. Had Ghir- 
landajo, still more had Michael Angelo, followed the line of 
thought pointed out in some of the mountain backgrounds in 
the Carmine, the work of Turner would have been done in 
Italy instead of in England, and grand landscape would have 
been inaugurated by stronger hands than Claude's, or even 
Nicolas Poussin's. Mr. Ruskin gives us a beautiful light-and- 
shade engraving from a drawing of his own after Masaccio, a 
background in one of the frescoes in the Carmine 1 . It is 
quite possible, he says, to attribute it to Filippino Lippi. But 
at all events, the hand of a great innovator is there, who gazed 
hard and lovingly at mountains as no other man had looked 
or would look for centuries. It is wonderful to think of the 
-men who were labouring at Florence at one and the same 
time : certainly Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Masaccio, and Donatello 
must actually have been all to be seen at their work at one 
time by any one who would go from the Duomo to the 
Carmine. It may be represented as an age of gold, no 
doubt ; but it was also an age of hard life, dubious patronage, 
struggle with impostors and their interests (see Life of 
Brunelleschi, in Vasari), and pre-eminently of hard-dealing 
abbots and whitewashing friars. 

This background of the fresco of the 'Tribute Money, 1 
however, is the only faithful record of mountain nature, before 
Titian studied in Cadore. It represents rounded Apennines, 
not unlike the lower hills seen from the Val d'Arno ; towards 
Lucca, and ' the oaks whose acorns drop in dark Auser's rill V 
There are wild-looking small trees in the foreground, shattered 
with storm, and wonderfully unlike the delicate Purist leaves 
of Perugino and Rafael. The lower hills are covered with 
just the same brushwood of beech or alder which clothes the 
lower Alps and Apennines ; their tops are bare and solid 
sheets of marble, as at this day. They rise with the long 

1 See Modern Painters, vol. iii. p. 322. 

'-' Serchio. Messrs. Gilbert and Churchill's description of the Cadore country 
needs no commendation here. 



io8 HISTORICAL. 

slope, gradual and graceful, which no one but a practised 
mountain draughtsman will ever give, even in our own time ; 
streaks of bright cloud are ' wandering round their promontories,' 
and others stand out behind, illuminated against a deep blue 
sky. Except for the darkness of tone, especially in the sky, 
it is a work of simple naturalism, and might be taken for an 
early Turner : indeed, it reminds one strongly of parts of the 
Liber Studiorum ; and few exercises can be more useful to 
a landscape student than that of comparing Masaccio's work 
with the two impressive sketches of late sunset which Mr. 
Ruskin has placed beside it for that purpose, called 'The 
Lombard Apennine,' and the island church in Venice called 
' S. George of the Seaweed.' Benozzo Gozzoli and others 
also seem to have had much feeling for the landscape of 
valleys and plains, but still to have treated it only as back- 
ground : nor does Ghirlandajo go further. To counterpoise 
Masaccio's advance in figure drawing, Mr. Crowe says with 
justice, that the traditional, and so to speak symbolic coun- 
tenance of our Lord, derived from Byzantine sources, finally 
disappears from Art in his pictures 1 . 

This book is intended for students desiring to gain the power 
of representing Nature ; and afterwards, perhaps, of creating 
something by composition or invention of their own, when 
their skill is secured them, and their memories are well-stored. 
Consequently we have selected our historical examples from 
the student-masters alone ; from men who shewed all the 
virtues and powers of progressive search after the Beautiful. 
Essays on Rafael and Michael Angelo would extend this 
book far beyond its proper limits : it is better for us to give 
some idea of the men by whose genius such schools of the 
painters were formed as could instruct Rafael and Michael 
Angelo, and freight, arm, and launch their all-seeking and 
all-conquering genius on the sea which grows ever wider to 
the end. For the rest, we have one more of the earlier 
advancing masters of painting to speak of one who seems to 
mark the advance of Art from the days of Giotto, and once 

'Note B, p. no. See 'Art Teaching in the Primitive Church,' p. 124 sqq. 
S.P.C.K, 1874. 



GHIRLANDAJO. 109 

more to unite, as he did, all the great gifts of manly piety, 
humour, and realism, of simplicity and delight in his Art 
above all earthly things, of endless rapidity and thirst for 
labour until death, to possess the broad vigour of Masaccio, 
mixed with the peace of Brother John of Fiesole. Into such 
men, above others, it pleases God to breathe what men call, 
by analogy, the Inspiration of Art. That is to say, He 
breathes into them the gift of feeling and expressing in form 
and colour the beauty which He has made. And such a man 
was Dominic, son of Thomas Bigordi, goldsmith of Florence, 
called Ghirlandajo, weaver of gold-plate crowns or garlands. 



100 HISTORICAL. 



NOTE A, TO PAGE 103. 
'DEATH OF MASACCIO.' 

' AN inexplicable mystery overhangs the last days of Masaccio. His dis- 
appearance from Florence gave rise to whispered rumours of poison, which still 
vibrated in the atmosphere of the sixteenth century. Yet the truth was, nobody 
knew what had become of him. He left the finest fresco of the Brancacci 
Chapel unfinished, and abandoned Florence, his mother, and brother. They had 
to answer for debts he could not pay. His creditor Niccolo di Ser Lapo 
(another painter) claimed 68 lire. The officer of the Catasto again presented its' 
income-tax paper, but in vain. The paper still exists, filled up in part from 
Masaccio's form of 1427, but sent back with these words in a strange hand : 
" Dices! fe morto in Roma ;" and Niccolo di Ser Lapo, in his return for 1430, 
despairingly says : " Masaccio died in Rome, and I don't know whether I shall get 
any part of my debt, as his brother says he is not the heir." ' (Crowe and Caval- 
caselle, ch. xxv. vol. ii. p. 547.) 



NOTE B, TO PAGE 108. 

' MASACCIO'S MODELS.' 

THE loss of traditional features and types from Religious painting is certainly to 
be regretted in some measure. In Masaccio, it seems to have been a necessary 
consequence of his discoveries in Art, and of his great advance beyond all 
traditional treatment. The statuesque power of his figures has been noticed, 
acquired, as it probably was, under Donatello's influence, and by means of severe 
study from Nature. It is difficult to say how far the beauty of the old Italian, or 
Etruscan, type of form had impressed Masaccio. The Adam and Eve in Paradise, 
of the Carmine, are certainly Gothic figures : but in the Expulsion from Paradise 
his models seem to have been of lower stature and broader form. His S. Peter, 
too, and others of his figures in the same frescoes, seem to pre-figure the curly and 
Herculean holiness of the Apostles in Rafael's Cartoons. The fallen Adam and 
Eve of the Carmine were almost literally adopted by Rafael in fact, as has been 
so often repeated, the influence of Masaccio over him, as well as over Michael 
Angelo, seems to have been almost unlimited. 

On Traditional Resemblance or Portrait, I may refer to a \vork published in 
January, 1874, entitled 'The Art Teaching of the Primitive Church.' Crown 8vo. 
S. P. C. K. 



VI. 
GHIRLANDAJO. (14491493.) 

HIRLANDAJO and his works mark a period in 
V_T Florentine, and indeed in Italian Art, which is an- 
alogous to that of completed growth in a flowering tree. The 
stem, or technical frame of scientific knowledge of drawing 
and materials, has been built up to maturity, throwing off 
stronger and greener branches continually as it grows towards 
the light : Masaccio, Botticelli, Benozzo Gozzoli, and Filippo 
Lippi are the last powerful side-boughs, and one more leading 
shoot springs up in Ghirlandajo before the tree bursts into 
flower and fruit with Fra Bartolomeo, Rafael, and Michael 
Angelo. The whole growth of Art may be studied in 
Florence and in the works of the Florentine School, if its 
final perfection, in colour as well as form, is to be seen in 
Venice in the works of Titian and Tintoret ; and though the 
greatness of Leonardo and Luini must never be forgotten (and 
the influence of the former throughout Italy was no doubt 
immense) still, in so slight a sketch as the present, it is 
sufficient for us to abide by the artistic succession in Florence 
only. There is no other place in the world where any ordinary 
visitor, with no more knowledge than ' Murray's Handbook ' 
will give him, may at least get an idea and, so to speak, 
from the actual documents of the transition from Cimabue 
to Rafael and Michael Angelo. It is possible in a few days 
to observe the whole progress of Art, from the Borgo Allegri 
picture to the Madonna del Cardellino and the Seggiuola, or 
to the Fates and the Duke Lorenzo, by inspecting the works 
themselves. Nor is there any place where the decline and 
departure of original vigour and noble art is better marked, 



U2 HISTORICAL. 

sinking as they do for ever with the last hopes of Florentine 
liberty. 

A highly important step has been made of late in Florentine 
photography, which promises results of the greatest value to 
students. Not only are negatives of the great frescoes taken, 
wherever it is possible (and great success has been obtained 
in most unpromising places by the aid of large mirrors and 
reflected light), but numbers of drawings by the great masters, 
in sepia, chalk, and pen-and-ink, are now photographed, and 
accessible in copy at a very low price. Mr. Philpot 1 has, we 
believe, undertaken this work ; and it seems to be one of 
great value to English Art. Nothing can be of greater value 
for the student than continual looking at great models, even 
though they be such as he cannot fully understand. All of 
us indeed are pretty much in this position with regard to the 
works of the great painters, since their actual processes are 
lost. The technical handling and use of materials and even 
tools in the Assumption and the smaller Paradise of Tintoret, 
which hang side by side in the Accademia of Venice, are 
probably unknown to our ablest painters. But the merest 
student would gain much by simply looking hard at those 
works for two hours a-day. And if he were taught meanwhile 
to pursue the course of labour which Titian and Tintoret went 
through, and encouraged by the sight of their rudimentary 
work, in which he can see every line and touch, he would 
certainly advance rapidly and solidly. In a students' manual 
like this we have little to say, after all, about the finished 
works of great men ; nor have we any idea of writing essays 
on Rafael, or analysing Angelo. A few pictures will be 
named which are accessible in this country to almost every 
one, and which we should say ought to be looked at, thought 
over, and even studied from. But copying whole pictures is a 
dubious method of study, not suitable to every one, or to be 
required of every one 2 . 

1 Mr. Philpot's studio is at No. 17, Borgo Ognissanti ; and his photographs can 
there be obtained for the small sum of i franc 30 centimes each. (1868.) The 
Autotype process, now worked by a well-established company, has made a revolu- 
tion of the happiest kind in popular art and taste within the last few years. (1874.) 

2 Broad studies representing the light and shade of the whole picture are most 
valuable practice ; as also studies of the parts in exactly-copied colour. But the 
whole work of a great master can only be well copied by a man of nearly equal 
powers. 



RUDIMENTARY WORK. 113 

It is very different with clearly and simply-worked sketches 
and studies in sepia or pen-and-ink, such as are found in the 
Rafael Gallery at Oxford, and in the various metropolitan col- 
lections. The commonest spectator can judge from them with 
what extraordinary workmanlike steadiness Rafael's hand 
worked : and see how his shades are expressed by steady 
lines, with the precision and evenness of fine engraving. 
Very little practice, too, will enable him to see that Michael 
Angelo's speed was never hurried, and that his rapid Tightness 
of execution was founded on endless labour and habitual 
precision. We may have to return to this at present we 
recommend every artist or amateur, who is able to do so, to 
form a small collection of photographs from pen or pencil 
drawings, such as we presume are now being imported from 
Florence and elsewhere by Mr. Philpot and the gentlemen 
who are multiplying them. First thoughts and sketches for 
great works are of course profoundly interesting but the 
student ought to look particularly for studies of parts, and 
careful line sketches whose touches he can follow : first, if he 
will, with tracing paper ; then by fair copying. 

In Florence, in July 1867, we bought, among many others, 
two photographs from drawings by Ghirlandajo, Nos. 690 and 
692 in Mr. Philpot's list one of a girl's head, the other of a 
piece of drapery, both works of extraordinary beauty, and 
the latter quite a typical or representative example of his 
wonderful drawing, in its simplicity and power and unsur- 
passed beauty of severe line. They seemed to us excellent 
specimens of his work, and instructive as to his way of 
working. 

The name of Ghirlandajo belongs to a whole family to 
Thomas Bigordi, the goldsmith or crown-maker ; to Domenico, 
most famous of his sons ; and the two others, David and 
Benedetto. Ridolfo Ghirlandajo was the grandson : son of 
Domenico, and heir of much of his power. Domenico's life 
was passed in Florence ' Spartam nactus est, hanc exornavit ' 
and he seems hardly ever to have left his native city, except 
on a visit to Rome before 1484, when he painted the great 
fresco of the Calling of S. Peter and S. Andrew, in the Sistine 
Chapel. For a full account and description of his countless 

I 



114 HISTORICAL. 

works, given with a rare combination of antiquarian and 
artistic knowledge and feeling, we must refer to Messrs. 
Crowe and Cavalcaselle's second volume. Here, as in the 
life of Masaccio, Mr. Cavalcaselle's local knowledge, and 
industrious search for original sources of information, give 
the book a something of the charm of Vasari, with far greater 
accuracy. But recent study of some of the principal frescoes 
in Florence enables us to indulge in some brief description 
and comment of our own. All was well in July 1867 with 
the histories of S. Francis in Santa Trinita ; but we saw the 
hand of the re-painter stretched out over Ghirlandajo in the 
choir of Santa Maria Novella though, as it seemed, not 
unnecessarily or injudiciously. Still, when the process of 
renewal once begins, though it be on actually blank and 
obliterated passages of a fresco, one never can tell what 
changes it will work. As Ghirlandajo is said to have treated 
Orcagna in Santa Maria Novella, so may it be done unto 
him at this day 1 . What splendours of form and colour, 
of thought and devotion, and human power, so called, have 
come like shadows, and so departed, from those walls! 
How Orcagna first painted the principal chapel of the great 
Church of the Preaching Friars ; how that body paid about 
as much attention to his work as they did to their vows of 
poverty, and let the rain stream down the walls and wash 
the frescoes out (exactly as we saw it doing to Giotto's Last 
Judgment, at Padua, in A. D. 1858); how the Ricci, the 
Tornabuoni, and the Tornaquinci combined to repaint the 
chapel, to their own honour and glory ; how the Tornabuoni 
utterly jockied and victimized the Ricci in the bargain ; all 
this is only our concern at present thus far, that it leads us 
to notice how freely Ghirlandajo introduces portraits into all 
his great works. He seems to have had no small share of 
Angelico's simplicity of mind, and, like him, to have enjoyed 
portraiture from natural regard for well-known faces and men 
he was ' used to.' Living in the world, Ghirlandajo had greater 
variety of subjects for portraiture ; and the deep-marked faces 
of Lorenzo, Politian, and Marsilio Ficino look down from 

1 He is said to have followed Orcagna's composition in the Ricci Chapel or choir, 
behind the altar of Santa Maria Novella. 



GHIRLANDAJO REPAINTED. 115 

more than one fresco of his. They are surrounded in the 
Ricci Chapel, with numerous Tornabuoni and Tornaquinci. 
His own face, with his father's and the ' big brother ' David's, 
who took his part and very literally fought for him, and would 
not let the monks slight him with bad soup and black bread \ 
are on the northern wall. The brothers are very like each 
other ; of the Etruscan type of Italian rather than the Gothic, 
except in David's lofty stature and more pretentious look ; 
with small well-shaped mouths, down-turned and rather 
mournful, and dark neatly-trimmed moustaches. On the 
southern side, in strong contrast to Politian and Lorenzo, is 
the small Gothic head and noble slender form of Ginevra 
de Benci, turning her long throat and straight face to the 
spectator, and challenging, while the fresco lasts, the admira- 
tion which all men gave her in life. One of the youths of 
the Tornabuoni family, and a woman's face and figure in the 
Birth of John the Baptist, are, if possible, more beautiful still. 
Like nearly all Ghirlandajo's subjects, these are, without ex- 
ception, faces and figures of the Northern type ; and the 
Northern ideal is insisted on in his works as in other men's. 
Fair hair and bright cheeks and lips, long slender necks, 
small hands and feet, and tall forms prevail everywhere, 
corresponding to a certain sinewy look about his men which 
borders on leanness. It may also be observed in Donatello's 
S. George, and Michael Angelo's statue of Giuliano de Medici. 
But the statuesque effect of many of Ghirlandajo's figures is 
a chief characteristic of his work. There can be no doubt 
of his having received many impressions from the various 
details of his father's trade. He must have been employed 
in designing and modelling for him ; and doubtless, like 
Orcagna, Verrochio, and others, received advantage from such 
practice, and from the habitual effort of the true artist in 
precious metal to make his workmanship as valuable as his 
material. Domenico's draperies are wonderful examples of 
modelling and drawing, falling as they do in severe and 

1 See Vasari. The brothers were treated with systematic neglect by the monks, 
until David violently assaulted the brethren who brought them their food, with one 
of their long-shaped loaves which, if stale, as it probably was, must have been a 
very efficient weapon. Every feeling mind will be glad to be Assured by Vasari, 
that the brothers got better dinners ever after. 

I 2 



n6 HISTORICAL. 

almost parallel lines, with broad shallow folds. Probably no 
painter, either of those who went before him or succeeded 
him, ever drew the form beneath the drapery and the relation 
of folds to under-form with more complete mastery. Like all 
the painters of his time he was a careful student of Masaccio. 
The Brancacci Chapel in the Carmine, as has been said above, 
was literally the chief school of Florentine Art for centuries. 
But Ghirlandajo's mind seems to have turned in the direction 
of purely historical work, as we may call it, in which the 
draped form takes the place of the nude. Masaccio is the 
predecessor of Michael Angelo. In such figures as those of 
the Shivering Youth, and even more of Adam and Eve in the 
Expulsion from Paradise, one sees the foreshadowings. and 
indeed the models, of the great works of the Sistine. There 
is the same relation between these works as between Peru- 
gino's and the earlier productions of Rafael. Not to speak 
now of ancient sculpture, these works are the great models of 
human beauty for modern Art, and deserve as much attention 
in our own days as of old. For there is in them the highest 
degree of reverence for the beauty of men and women, without 
the least flavour of sensual feeling. It may be said of Masaccio 
and of his mighty grandson in Art, that they combine the 
most intense force with purity of mind and purpose ; and 
their works are of the greatest importance now, when study 
of the human form is so much needed in this country, and 
when the necessity for it is beginning to be understood. That 
it is the principal, in fact the only means of right study and 
training, is a certainty ; that it is the worthiest and final 
object for the painter is by no means evident : for, if real 
historical painting be the chief walk of Art, it is entirely out 
of the question to represent men naked, who made history 
clothed and armed. Ideal history of classical days, as of a 
golden age when nobody wore any clothes, may be accepted 
and passed by. We have had enough of it : not but that it 
was of great use in the last generation. The principles and 
inspirations of David and the French Revolution had this 
great value for French Art, that they threw men on the study 
of the nude with high historical purpose ; since he and his 
school at least selected subjects chiefly from Roman history, 



DRAPED FORMS. 117 

though their treatment was ideal rather than realistic \ But 
we do not desire to furnish students to a purely Nuditarian 
school who have no further object than flesh-painting, because 
we conceive that such a school, at least in England, would be 
the most grievous obstacle in the way of anything like widely 
diffused Art-education which can possibly be imagined. 

Ghirlandajo, at all events, clings to the draped form, and he 
is perhaps the last of the ancient masters who did so. It 
is not that his nude figures indicate want of knowledge in 
anatomy, or deficient study of the outward form ; but that 
his taste and feeling led him to represent historical action in 
a straightforward manner, and that he considered the study 
of muscles and bones a necessary preparation for historical 
subject, not the real object of Art. More accurate science, 
formed on knowledge of structure, gained by dissection and 
practical anatomy, was to come with his great pupil. To 
discuss their effect on artists and on Art is no part of the 
business of this work. 

Michael Angelo and Ghirlandajo are said not to have 
worked together on good terms : perhaps the goldsmith's son 
thought the young Michael Angelo too poor and proud ; 
though it is pretty clear that the youth deserved his salary, 
24 florins, from the first. As the elder Buonarotti's objection 
to his son's undertaking so humble a trade is matter of history, 
it is quite possible that he may thus have given Ghirlandajo 
more offence than he ever did by direct slight or ill treatment. 
The veteran master, nearly his pupil's equal in power, quite 
matching him in the painter's thirst of labour, full of gathered 
knowledge, and recognized prince of his art, must have early 
recognized one fact in his pupil that he meant to take his 
own line and Masaccio's. These considerations, with that of 
Michael Angelo's occasional sharpness of temper and ex- 
pression in early days, may have turned his master's mind 
against him' 2 . What is said of Ghirlandajo's early jealousy 
of him is said even more invidiously of Titian with regard to 
Tintoret; and the more honourable anecdote-of Verrochio and 

1 We may refer to the great beauty and perfect purity, in conception and execution, 
of the nude works of Ingres, the pupil of David. 

2 Torrigiano's flattening his nose with hammer or fist will be remembered. 



il8 HISTORICAL. 

Leonardo is confirmed by the picture now in the Academy of 
Florence *. Perhaps in the first two cases each master may 
have felt that his pupil was strong enough to make his own 
way on principles of his own ; and that for the sake of less 
able followers who needed implicit obedience, he could suffer 
no rival near his throne. We have heard of two knights on 
one horse, but never of two masters in one studio. If Ghir- 
landajo did really keep Michael Angelo in the background, it 
only shews, first, what any master in his senses would do to a 
promising pupil ; and secondly, it indicates his early perception 
that an ambition, principles, and feelings were at work in his 
studio different from those he honestly thought the best. 
Masters, like parents, may often expect 'their children to be 
precise copies of themselves, or to take up their work with 
exact imitation ; and no amount of experience in either case 
seems to teach them that they look for either an impossibility 
or a disappointment. It is certainly curious, if true 2 , that 
the pupil of the great master of broad fresco should have 
practised it so little as to find the Sistine paintings a new, 
and at first an uncertain, kind of labour. But grandeur and 
breadth in covering a space with marshalled composition of 
numerous figures was clearly learnt, in some degree, by 
Michael Angelo from his master ; and he seems along with it 
to have inherited his master's rapidity and decision in execu- 
tion. Though there is often much stippling and hatching in 
Ghirlandajo's work, it is done rapidly and with decisive 
purpose ; the hatched lines being drawn in different directions 
according to the surface required, and rapidly and beautifully 
modelled. One of the photographs to which we have referred, 
that of the girl's head, illustrates this in a remarkable way. 
His drapery and broad forms seem to have been painted in 
with all the sweeping power of Masaccio, only in severer 
lines ; the higher lights kept till last, and painted on in thick 
body colour : and throughout the work he seems to have 

known every form by heart, so as to lay on each broad touch 



1 No. 43, catalogue of 1866. Verrochio gave up painting on seeing the superior 
beauty of an angel's head painted by Leonardo in his picture of Our Lord's Baptism. 
(See Vasari.) The head is exquisite. 

2 See Duppa's Life of Michael Angelo. 



S WIFT EXECUTION. 1 1 9 

in planned and decisive shape ; which is certainly the secret 
of all water and body colour, if not of all painting. Some 
great men, as Leonardo, have been practically incapable 
of painting in fresco, from indecision as to what to do. 
It is true their indecision has been that of varied know- 
ledge ; and their fastidiousness that of long experience and 
labour. But there seems to have been a dash of pride 
besides in the conscientiousness which sometimes prevented 
Leonardo's finishing his pictures at all. And though we 
have abused the monastic patrons of the Frescanti, as we 
think, with no more than a strenuous moderation, it must 
be admitted that they may have had reason to think that 
Masaccio, perhaps, kept them out of a chapel too long, or 
Leonardo out of a refectory. Delay always involves ex- 
pense, as the painter must live all the time he is changing 
and amending : and of all the recriminations between patrons 
and artists which are eternally going on, the -most provoking 
are founded on the fact that a modern fresco takes so very 
long to do, that the painter must be paid for his time, and 
that if he is a man of name and mark, his time will be worth 
a good deal. And, without doubt, wall-paintings ought not 
to be finished like oil-paintings. Ghirlandajo was eager for 
both kinds of labour to the end of his life ; but any one who 
has seen his fresco and his oil-painting can see the absolute 
difference of his style and treatment. It is as if he rested 
over his altar-pieces ; taking his pleasure in giving them their 
colour, their transparency and reflected lights, and pleasant 
backgrounds of scenes he knew and enjoyed as only a painter 
can enjoy them. He finished and polished them, and used 
the clear Peruginesque grey distance and transparent verdure l 
as tranquilly as if, in his hours of eager action, he was not 
desiring to paint all the walls in Florence, and actually 
painting a considerable proportion of them. 

This power of speed, decision, and limited finish in fresco 
is insisted on as a great and chief desideratum in our British 

1 See in our own National Gallery, No. 296. The student will do well to notice 
such parts as the lily, brooch, or raspberry. He may study them if he likes. The 
yellow shades on flesh are remarkable, and the reflected lights on the limbs assist 
their rounding very artfully. 



120 HISTORICAL. 

Art, by authorities whose opinion can hardly be disputed, in 
the evidence before the Royal Academy Commission. Many 
of the frescoes in the House of Lords and elsewhere are 
finished like easel pictures, and must necessarily be expensive 
according to their size. The worst is that when one of them 
is finished at last, and a bargain between Art and the State 
honourably completed, the artist has lost money by his work, 
and the State has generally lost temper and patience at his 
having spent so much time to his own disadvantage. 

Ghirlandajo painted with a knowledge and power which 
leaves little room for criticism in his works: and his speed 
was equal to his power. But wall-paintings in every way 
imperfect, like Paul Uccello's in the Chiostro Verde of Santa 
Maria Novella, have been valuable and interesting ever since 
from their graphic power, and the keenness and vigour of the 
painter's mind, which is more marked in his rudest execution 
than his finest. Wall-painting evenly completed, without 
delicate finish anywhere, would be sufficiently spe'edy, and 
might be indefinitely cheap, if the walls were committed to 
the best pupils of a real Academy of Painting, under the 
guidance and from the designs of their own masters, or of 
men like Mr. Watts, Mr. Armitage, or Mr. Maclise. If edu- 
cational frescoes are ever to be done in this country they 
will have to be painted exactly in the old way, rapidly by 
masters and scholars together, with confessed imperfection 
of means and time ; and often, we trust, with the old genius 
and science which made glorious the swift efforts of the 
Gothic school. 

Ghirlandajo died before 1493, before 'the French lances 
were shining in the passes of the Alps.' He did not see 
the evil time ; and scarcely the reforms of Savonarola, or 
the Florentine gallows and fire which were the Florentine l 
prophet's reward. Nor did he see the bitterer but nobler 
days, when, as the author of ' Romola ' says, the sons of 
Savonarola's followers, brought up under the influences of 
his teaching, made their last stand for liberty in the old 
Florentine fashion. His aristocratic pupil had then to turn 
his all-embracing genius to engineering and fortification, like 

1 Ferrarese by birth. 



TINTORETS MOTTO. 121 

Durer or Leonardo ; to seize on San Miniato, and secure 
Florence at least from storm and sack ; and to return once 
more, escaped from the bloodhounds, to the Day and Night 
of the Lorenzo Chapel l . With him and with Rafael ends 
Florentine Art ; but in ending its course it becomes mistress 
of all the world. Further progress is reserved for Venice alone, 
with the help of Buonarotti's great works : and Tintoret's 
high-reaching motto sums up Art, perhaps for ever, with the 
aspiration which he alone has yet made into achievement : 

' II disegno di Michelangelo ed il colorito di Tizianzo.' 
See Duppa's Life of Michael Angelo. 



VII. 

ON THE STUDY OF FINISHED WORKS OF ART. 

THE course of drawing which we have set before our stu- 
dent will, we trust, make him pay sufficient and sustained 
attention to casts representing some of the greatest works 
of Greek and Roman Art : and it will virtually teach him, we 
may hope, the right way of looking at other great models. 
For, as a student of Art, he must look on them with some- 
what implicit faith : later in life, and as his powers increase, 
he may consider that they guide him in part, but are not 
entirely to dictate to him. He will then, probably, enter with 
a will, if he has not done so before, on the works of Michael 
Angelo. They are, as a rule, valued far more highly by 
workmen than by critics ; and this may give us an opportunity 
for introducing a remark on lay-criticism. A well-educated 
man of taste, who is not a workman in Art, looks on great 
pictures and statues as poems ; and is quite justified in ex- 
pressing his feelings about them. What he says may be of 
the greatest educational value, when it is not against technical 
or historical fact : and he is sure to obtain more immediate 
attention than the artist, who paints and carves instead of 
writing. When he is wrong, the protest of the best workmen 
generally makes itself heard against him, unless his notes die 
away of themselves. But the lay-critic's being right depends 
on his tastes, his feelings, his education, and his spiritual views 
and hopes for humanity and for himself. And our classical 
education seems often to do very little good, in this direction, 
though the want of it does so much harm. Greek history 
and knowledge of Greek Art certainly ought to go together ; 
and as certainly they do not, in any English place of education 



ORE A T MA STERS. 1 23 

we know of. Byron, the hater of Horace, was probably the 
best judge of a statue in Cambridge, at his day ; and Porson 
the worst, or not one at all. 

Whatever education in Art men ought to go through in 
order to talk about it, this book is for those who mean to 
practise it. Its lessons and exercises may be found rather 
difficult and irksome ; but any one who can do them well is 
so far forth a workman ; and whoever can do them all well 
is a trained workman, prepared to do justice to whatever 
original genius he may have, by design of his own. And 
when he has reached the point at which his own thoughts 
and character begin to be expressed in his work, he will look 
at works of great masters with the eye of a critic as well as 
with the technical eye, and enter more or less into the spirit 
that is in them. But all the while, the magnificence and quite 
mysterious greatness of their technical knowledge and power 
will contend for his admiration, and he will always find much 
to learn from Rafael or Michael Angelo, Titian or Tintoret. 
He will always get more and more from them of that deep 
enjoyment of truth and beauty which teaches Art best of all 
things, because it is the essence of artistic feeling. Tintoret 
is only to be seen in Venice, and Titian is essentially the 
master's master, rather than the student's, save only that, as 
has been said, the latter may gain endless encouragement 
from seeing how much precision and steady severe drawing 
had to do with his unlimited success. And as the pure 
drawing of line and form in Rafael and Michael Angelo is 
so transcendent, as also so many sketches and unfinished 
drawings by both are within our reach, these two must be our 
chief rudimentary teachers simply because we can see how 
they began and went on like other students, and ended beyond 
the reach of all other men. The sources of their education, 
too, are traceable for centuries, in the great Florentine succes- 
sion from Cimabue : and as the history of modern or Gothic 
Art is best studied in Florence, we have chosen our represen- 
tative painters from the banks of the Arno. We are writing 
for students, and the student-masters who between them 
completed the technical or 'scientific' part of the painter's 
craft have been our choice ; and we commend to our readers, 



124 HISTORICAL. 

as pupils, only the rudimentary work, and early processes of 
our chief models. If this were a treatise on the history or 
principles of Art, the names and works of Niccola Pisano, of 
Sandro Botticelli, and Perugino would have to be much more 
prominent in it than they are. But it is so convenient as to 
be almost a necessity for us, to direct the attention of students 
as far as possible to accustomed names, and well-understood 
models. Drawing may be taught and learnt by rule with the 
help of such examples as have been appealed to here ; and 
personal and independent study of colour from Nature will be 
found to be part of our course. And as standard works of 
Titian are accessible to the student in our National Gallery, 
he must be chosen for this and other reasons as our central 
guide in colour, when the student shall have acquired a certain 
knowledge of pigments and handling by practice from Nature. 
Colour may be learnt from Titian, though it cannot be taught 
by talk about him, or by writing. And the student must of 
course take every occasion of hard looking at any work of 
his, of John Bellini's or Giorgione's (or Carpaccio's, or Cima 
de Conegliano's, if he like the earlier sacred work) and 
especially of Veronese's. He will learn we know not what 
from them all. He will see, with perseverance, what is wrong 
or weak in his own work : he will learn that putting bright 
colours everywhere does not make powerful colour: he will 
learn to tone his crimsons with black and his yellows with 
brown, except in the one fold which admits the perfect hue. 
His greens will draw towards the subdued power of the olive- 
greens of Veronese, his yellows will be rich with gold and 
orange flashing sparsely out of their brown, shadows : he will 
delight to see his reds take the glowing bronze of sunburnt 
limbs, which Titian and Veronese loved and dwelt on in their 
drapery as well as their flesh 1 . And his blues will be green 
in their lights and black and purple in their shades : and he 
will draw form always more keenly for the sake of purity of 
colour : and will carry the trenchant slash and varied pressure 
of the keen but delicate water-brush out in all his oil-work. 
Let him look hard and continually at Venetian colour : not, 

1 I am sure the indescribable tones of the clear Venetian russet-red were 
first brought to the painter's mind by study of sunburnt flesh. 



VENETIAN COLOUR. 125 

we think, at many pictures, but constantly at a few : indeed, 
if he live in England, there are not. many accessible ones to 
look at. Still, John Bellini's Doge Loredano (No. 189, 
National Gallery), his Madonna (No. 280), the noble picture 
ascribed to him or Giorgione (No. 234), and the supreme and 
matchless little Giorgione (No. 269), may teach colour to 
ages to come : and generations of true workmen may go on 
gaining strength from the Pisani Veronese, or Titian's Noli 
me Tangere, or from the Ariosto. 

We have said nothing of Leonardo or Velasquez * or Francia, 
or many another whose works ought never to be passed by ; 
because the works named for study are, perhaps, enough for a 
young painter to choose his favourite copies or models from. 
The parts must be well studied, as the snake's head, and the 
faun's wreath in Bacchus and Ariadne, and the pearls on the 
rose-coloured dress in the Pisani Veronese, which shew some- 
thing of Veronese's manner of work ' 2 . The student of Rafael's 
earlier work, finished or unfinished, will have gained some 
idea of Perugino, especially of the technical excellence of his 
pen-and-ink, or hard-point drawing, which his great pupil 
evidently inherited 3 . 

More colour-power is gained, however, by hard water- 
colour practice from Nature than by anything else, if the 
pupil will only match his colour from Nature. If he will 
do that he will soon find himself beginning to understand 

1 It is said of Velasquez, by Mr. Ruskin, that ' everything he does may be 
taken as absolutely right by the student.' This dictum seems to us correct. 
And thus much may be added to it as a matter of feeling and treatment, 
that the truth of Velasquez is like scarcely any other man's : and his treat- 
ment of homely faces, and love for the features of his countrymen as they 
really looked, is of the greatest value as an example for the English Realist 
School. Diego will not flatter king or kaiser, nor yet will he take a line 
out of an old woman's or a shepherd's face for beauty's sake, yet all the 
while he is par excellence the painter of kings and the ennobler of old women. 
He has the pride of times when Spain had reason to be proud : but he is 
a humbler man than a modern Idealist, who is too pure for colour, and. 
can produce beauty by rule. The boy's and old woman's faces in the 
Adoration of the Shepherds (No. 232 in the National Gallery) ought to be 
what Mr. Ruskin calls ' a revelation ' to a young Realist painter. 

* See Modern Painters, vol. v. p. 193, a chapter to be studied by all 
painters. 

3 His steadiness of line in shading is wonderful ; but the hands and feet 
of his figures are often unnaturally small. 



126 HISTORICAL. 

Turner's work : and if that should lead him right away into 
landscape and mountain-drawing for a time, that is worth a 
man's life, and certainly it is worth the leisure hours of a life. 
But ' Hinter dem Berge sind auch Leute ;' after Nature comes 
Man ; and a higher landscape, with powerfully-painted figures, 
may yet arise in the English School, which shall have Nicolas 
Poussin's dignity and power without his bastard classicism. 
Lewis's pictures, and even sketches, are most important, as 
combining absolutely perfect workmanship in human, animal, 
and landscape painting, and so are the finished works of 
Hunt and Millais, and of many rising masters of our own 
schools. 

We hope that this book will be found to prescribe copying 
enough for the advancing student. But it aims at assisting 
men who may turn out something more than copyists. We 
trust some such may use it, and soon make it useless to them- 
selves, and advance far beyond it. And one way to do so 
will be to work in its spirit ; that is to say, to reverence and 
study the work of all great ones of the past, remembering 
continually that greatness is to be sought as they sought it, 
chiefly by the study of Nature herself not as their weaker 
followers or imitators sought it, by exclusive study of the 
pictures and statues, by which they had first expressed their 
delight in Nature. There is a difference between loyal service 
and servility ; and Rafael is best followed by those who copy 
what Rafael copied. He who has well obeyed a good and 
strict master in an English Art-School through his elementary 
course, deserves, or should deserve, a certain liberty or choice 
of his own in his work : he should have learnt enough 
obedience to be able to command himself at least. Every 
man is one's teacher, from whom anything is to be learned ; 
but original work is original work, and a true workman from 
Nature may answer with the measured pride of Evan Dhu 
Maccombich l , ' Master my Master is in Heaven.' 

1 Waverley, vol. i. 






PICTORIAL ART. 



PART II. PRACTICE. 



CHAPTER I. 

IT was stated in the introductory chapter of the First or 
Theoretic Part of this Manual, that an alternative existed 
between beginning to work at Art with line-drawing (which 
is the preferable way in all cases), and beginning altogether 
wrongly, with washes of colour, and attempts to produce 
landscape without the study either of Art or Nature. What 
that alternative is we shall endeavour to shew. It is a way 
which may lead the student to good and profitable landscape 
sketching and colouring, and enable him to understand 
advanced work, and the higher finish 1 of modern water- 
colour. But the best thing to which this concession to 
landscape amateurs can lead is still what we recommend 
from the first the usual and rather severe course of free-hand 
and light and shade drawing 'from the flat and from the 
round.' It cannot be expected but that most full-grown 
persons (in particular) who are inclined to take to drawing 
from awakened sense of natural beauty, will want to begin 
their work at the wrong end, or at least in the middle. They 
see wonderful and complicated subjects, in varied and ever- 
changing colours ; they naturally wish as soon as possible to 
produce something like them, and ask for a short way to 

1 Here as everywhere, be it understood, we mean by finish, more per- 
fect rendering of facts in detail, and completion by putting in additional 
truth. A tree-trunk in one of Turner's pictures is more finished than in one 
of Constable's, because it gives us more facts about the moss and weather- 
stains, and old insertions of boughs, and age of bark, and muscular strength 
of the tree, and so on. 



128 DREAD OF LINE-DRAWING. 

learn to reproduce a grand landscape. It is a sign of real 
progress when they begin to have a clear idea of the difficulty 
of doing this : despair of it, in fact, is a hopeful sign. But 
when the hope of great things all at once has been given up, 
if the honest eager impulse remains with them to produce 
some record of remembered beauty in Nature, it is a pity 
they should not try. They cannot, if they are in their senses, 
expect to begin at a successful end ; and we can but furnish 
them with as advanced a beginning as possible with such a 
course of drawing as shall enable them to face natural scenery 
with some prospect of producing intelligible sketches of it. 
We hope that practice of this kind will bring them, as has 
been said, to some sense of the difficulty of what they wish 
to do, and also of the immense value to themselves of genuine 
success : so that a little progress and a good deal of failure, 
in an amateur way, may bring them to begin their work at 
length in an artistic way, with straight lines and freehand. 

To those who want to copy popular water-colourists, and 
call for water-colour washes that they may produce bad 
imitations of indifferent chromographs, we have no observa- 
tion whatever to offer, nor could we expect any attention 
from them. We are attempting to describe a course of study 
by which a certain skill in landscape (or indeed other) drawing 
may be attained, without going through all the severe indoor 
or scholastic training of drawing in line or from casts. And 
we hope that such skill, once reached, will shew the student 
the necessity of beginning at last with the real training which 
he has hitherto declined. 

Albert Durer is the great drawing-master for the eager 
landscape student in his first essays ; Turner, as his skill 
advances. But before we give examples from either, we must 
try to analyse the untaught feeling, and see with the willing 
yet unpractised eye of, say the girl of sixteen or the lad of 
twenty, whose eyes are opened by a first visit to Scotland 
or Switzerland : or even who has just seen lowland scenery 
transfigured by flames of sunset or rose of dawn. 

They do not see much in a rational or conscious way, so as 
to trace or command it with the eye. What they do see is, 
of course, the outlines of distance first of all either mountain, 



WITH FEELING FOR NATURE. 139 

flat horizon, or perhaps clearly defined and heavy cloud, in 
which part or the whole of the horizon is lost. And, in trying 
to put a sketch on paper, they always begin with the most 
distant line they can see. That is perhaps correctly drawn ; 
and then comes a search for more lines, and a discovery that on 
the whole there are none, or none such as will ' fall together ' 
into a picture. There is nothing but form, and masses of form, 
and though they cannot express it, the difference between form 
and line is then first practically shewn them. Then comes 
the usual call for a short way and a drawing-master, often not 
to teach drawing, but to teach them to evade drawing. They 
say they want to learn composition : that is to say, learn to 
caricature the face of Nature into lines and masses by receipt. 
Or else the sketcher begins to see how much there is in 
Nature, and that he must begin by learning to draw all he 
can of what he sees, instead of thinking what he is to leave 
out or not to draw. This may be said to be the regular 
invitation of sham Art. Learn to omit, to slur, to generalize, 
to wash out, to arrange masses, to get effects to do anything 
but draw what you see, and try to bring Nature to book 
resolutely. Nothing but practice and failure will teach the 
great lesson, that power waits on method and headwork, 
and swiftness on steadiness, and mystery on clearness, and 
brilliancy of rapidly-laid colour on precision of line line so 
slowly learnt, but so quickly drawn when once learnt. Real 
power of composition must always be the ultimate reward of ex- 
perience in Art and Nature, developing natural gift. It cannot 
perhaps be learnt by study, but it comes with right study. 

I know no better way of beginning to prepare oneself to 
draw from Nature than is given in the Course for Landscape 
Amateurs in this chapter. It is intended for adults, and for 
persons who already know something of drawing and the use 
of brush and colour; even supposing them unwilling to face 
what they always call ' the drudgery ' of free-hand drawing. 
No one who will not attempt it with some care is ever likely 
to be fit to draw from Nature at all, that I see : every one 
with the least true love of Nature must enjoy Durer's or 
Turner's rendering of her forms. The system is not adapted 
for very young people. They ought to begin in the right 

K 



130 TRACING FROM DURER, TURNER, ETC. 

way, with right lines. Docile children ought to be docile 
enough for that. But if they will only draw their lines faith- 
fully for a part of their time (as large a part as possible) they 
may be allowed to go in advance a little, and try harmless 
experiments. A little drawing from the solid, or even some 
use of colour, may be permitted the pupil from time to time 
before he has fairly passed through his course of free-hand 
line ; not by way of improvement, but of refreshment, just 
to keep up his interest in his work, and this applies to children 
of larger growth as well. 

There are at pp. 135-137, in this chapter, fac-similes of the 
backgrounds of a woodcut from Albert Durer, and of the 
main lines of the plate of the Mer de Glace in the 'Liber 
Studiorum,' engraved by Turner's hand, and reduced in size 
with correctness enough for our present purpose. There is 
also a photograph of a large stone on a glacier, with a wood- 
cut of its principal lines, about twice its size. The student 
may use these to begin with, as he is directed below. But 
if he possesses and prefers any other Durer woodcuts, es- 
pecially The Cannon l ; or any of George Cruikshank's earlier 
etchings; or of Richter's ; or Alfred Rethel's Death the 
Avenger and Death the Friend ; or any of Leech's woodcuts 
which have landscape in them, as various hunting sketches, 
and especially the Adventures of Mr. Briggs out Deer-stalking ; 
above all, if he can get the etched lines of an engraving 
from Turner's 'Liber Studiorum 2 ,' he may proceed- with any 
one of them, as follows : 

EXERCISE I. 

Make a careful tracing on transparent paper of the main 
lines of your woodcut, drawing them in right, line for line and 
touch for touch, and making as perfect a fac-simile as you 
can. You will not be able to get the right thickness or firm- 
ness of line at first, but get all the forms and directions of 

1 Thanks to the autotype process, the works of Durer and other standard 
masters in light and shade, are now easy to obtain anywhere in fac-simile. 

2 A photograph of the original etching of Cephalus and Procris in the 
'Liber Studiorum' has been most kindly given me by Mr. Ruskin, for use 
in this book. It will be found reduced in size at the beginning of the 
chapter on Tree-forms. 



EVEN SHADING. 131 

the lines safe l . Then transfer your tracing to drawing-paper 
very carefully. Having done so, set your copy before you, 
and imitate it in pen and ink freely over your traced lines, 
touch for touch ; or you may use a fine pencil if you please. 
By the main lines to be drawn in, I mean all the significant 
lines you can trace ; if there are any which are evidently 
meant only to indicate shade, they may be left out at this 
stage of your work. 

By repeating the same lines freely, it is not meant that you 
should only ' ink over ' the traced lines, but imitate them ; 
say at an eighth or sixteenth of an inch distance to right or 
left, so that your hand repeats its work freely. Take care 
that your lines are even in breadth, whether they are fine or 
broad. In pencil or pen and ink it is a great object, and 
great sign of progress, to be able always to get a firm even 
line. Always move the hand as much as possible from the 
shoulder, difficult as it seems at first. In point of fact, 
cramped work with the fingers is much more uncertain and 
shaky than the play of the whole hand. You can practise in 
writing. Nervous hands always shake at first beginning work, 
and gather steadiness as they go on. 

EXERCISE II. 

When you are tired of the exertion of careful line-drawing, 
which is not small, you may take up the following lesson, 
which is copied, by kind permission of the author, from 
Ruskin's ' Elements of Drawing.' 



FIG. i. 





1 You will be surprised at the difficulty of getting anything like a fac-simile 
of such lines at all. But never mind; that difficulty is exactly what you will 
learn most from. 

K 2 



132 



EVEN SHADING. 



' Take any finely-pointed steel pen (one of Gillott's lithographic crow- 
quills is best), and a piece of quite smooth, but not shining, note-paper, 
cream-laid, and get some ink that has stood already for some time in the 
inkstand, so as to be quite black, and as thick as it can be without clogging 
the pen. Take a rule, and draw four straight lines, so as to enclose a 
square, or nearly a square, about as large as a Fig. i. N.B. I say nearly 
a square because it does not in the least matter whether it is quite square 
or not, the object being merely to get a space enclosed by straight lines. 
Now try to fill in that square space with crossed lines, so completely and 
evenly that it shall look like a square patch of grey silk or cloth, cut out and 
laid on the white paper, as at b. Cover it quickly, first with straightish lines 
in any direction you like, not troubling yourself to draw them much closer or 
neater than those in the square a. Let them quite dry before retouching 
them. (If you draw three or four squares side by side, you may always 
be going on with one while the others dry.) Then cover those lines with 
others in a different direction, and let those dry; then in another direction 
still, and let those dry. Always wait long enough to run no risk of 
blotting ; and then draw the lines as quickly as you can. Each ought to 
be laid on as swiftly as the dash of the pen of a good writer ; but if you 
try to reach this great speed at first, you will go over the edge of the 
square, which is a fault in this exercise. Yet it is better to do so now 
and then than to draw the lines very slowly ; for if you do the pen leaves 
a little dot of ink at the end of each line, and these dots spoil your work. 
So draw each line quickly, stopping always as nearly as you can at the edge 
of the square. The ends of lines which go over the edge are afterwards 
to be removed with the pen-knife, but not till you have done the whole 
work ; otherwise you roughen the paper, and the next line that goes over 
the edge makes a blot. 

' When you have gone over the square three or four times, you will 
find some parts of it look darker than others. Now try to make the 
lighter parts as dark as the rest, so that the whole may be of equal depth 
or darkness. You will find, on examining the work, that where it looks 
darkest the lines are closest, or there are some much darker lines than else- 
where ; therefore you must put in other lines or little scratches and dots 
between the lines in the paler parts ; and where there are any very conspic- 
uous dark lines, scratch them out lightly with the pen-knife; for the eye must 
not be attracted by any line in particular. The more carefully and 
delicately you fill in the little gaps and holes the better : you will get on 
faster by doing two or three little squares perfectly than a great many 
badly. As the tint gets closer and begins to look even, work with very 
little ink in your pen, so as hardly to make any mark ; and at last, where 
it is too dark, use the edge of your pen-knife very lightly, and for some 
time, to wear it softly into an even tone. You will find the great 
difficulty consists in getting evenness : one bit will always look darker 
than another bit of your square, or there will be a granulated sandy look 
over the whole. When you find your paper quite rough and in a mess, 



EVEN SHADING. 133 

;ive it up and begin another square ; but do not rest satisfied till you 
lave done your best with every one. You will find it very difficult to get 
a pale tint. . . . You must get over this not so much by leaving the lines 
wide apart as by trying to draw them excessively fine, lightly and swiftly, 
being cautious in filling in, and at last passing the pen-knife over the whole. 
By keeping several squares in progress at one time, and reserving your 
pen for the light one when the ink is nearly exhausted, you may get on 
better. The paper ought at last to look lightly and evenly toned all over, 
with no lines distinctly visible. 

' A graduated space, the dark tint passing evenly into the lighter ones, 
is the next exercise, as soon as the pupil has some command of the 
pen as a shading instrument." See Fig. i, c. 

These exercises may be repeated with the point of an H or 
HH pencil, or at least some of those which follow on shading 
must be taken up and done delicately with a hard pencil, 
using bread or india-rubber and the penknife-point to remove 
dark specks. It will be, on the whole, best to use chalk for 
practice, with the soft point and on a larger scale ; and pen 
and ink in order to train oneself to hard-point or etcher's 
work. The pen and ink have the advantage of being always 
at hand, and it is a really important gain to an amateur or 
young artist if he can form a habit of ready firm illustration 
with his pen. Drawing ought to be taught just as writing 
is taught ; but nevertheless, as the latter must generally l 
come first in education, it is best to connect Art with it where 
we can, and to consider one's pen as a drawing instrument is 
a very good thing for the student. In no other way will he 
so easily form the invariable painter's habit of ' always drawing 
something,' always watching form and colour, always ob- 
serving and imitating. Business is business, of course, and I 
do not recommend him to illustrate his books or correspond- 
ence ; and yet I remember how the illustrated letters of a 
friend of times past used to be longed for and delighted in. 
The drawback, of course, to habitual sketching is that it is 
likely to induce carelessness in execution in some cases ; but 
this risk may be safely run by any one who has trained him- 
self by diligent tracing and copying from Albert Durer and 
from the lines of the ' Liber Studiorum,' and who has practised 
squares carefully enough to be able to etch an even tint with 

1 Not always. We have found it useful, in a night school, to tell a pupil, 
uncertain about the form of A, to ' make his picture ' on a slate. 



134 HABITS OF DRAWING AND OBSERVATION. 

his pen. A week's practice at the exercises given or named 
in the text will teach the pupil a good deal about drawing : 
and when he has reached a certain point he may make steady 
progress only by working up spare hours or half hours. It is 
impossible to say too much in praise of the habit of carrying a 
small sketch-book about, with a sharp F pencil in a sheath, 
for occasional practice from the object. 

Remember also, that having undertaken to become some- 
thing of a painter, you have undertaken to be an observer as 
well as an imitator, and that the painter's eye is always open. 
You should always be making at least mental notes of form 
or colour or effect. The well-stored memory, more than any- 
thing else, seems to distinguish great men from small. It is 
impossible to say how much imagination and invention owe 
to memory ; they certainly could do nothing without it. You 
ought, as time goes on, to have a sort of mental scrap-book, 
which will suggest true forms to you in working at your 
pictures. It is almost impossible to say how far memory can 
take the place of invention in painting, just as one cannot tell 
how far it ministers to genius and power of thought in science 
or history. It may be developed in a morbid way by a 
person who has little power of thought, and who has in con- 
sequence a vast storehouse of things he cannot use. ' Si quis 
emat : citharas, emptas comportet in unum,' &c., applies to 
the man who has a vast recollection of facts as they occur in 
books, without power of arrangement, induction, or deduction. 
But the painter's memory is connected with so many perfectly 
secret and unknown springs of feeling and association, that it 
cannot well be overloaded, and may be trusted to arrange 
itself. Of course drawing from Nature or the real object 
must always be prior in time and in importance to drawing 
from memory, because Nature feeds and supplies ideas of 
memory. Yet even drawing from Nature implies the use of 
the mind in remembering an observed form in the object till 
it is realized on paper or canvas. You cannot look at two 
things at once, and you must determine from your object 
the form of your next touch, and remember it till you 

1 It is curious to remark how literally Horace's standard absurdity has been 
repeated in the modern mania for collecting violins. 



DETAIL IN DURER. 



'35 



have put it on. Again, memory may be supplied from 
other men's work as well as from Nature. You have 
a right to imitate, though not to plagiarize ; and the 
practical way to do right in such a matter is, I think, 
always to compare this or that man's rendering of Nature 
with Nature before you imitate him in your own work. T. M. 
Richardson's moorland and highland scenery is very attractive 
to sketchers, and deservedly so ; but you should compare his 
moors with a real moor before you take to copying him. So 
of Cox's woods and weeds, or Copley Fielding's commons 1 . 
When you have observed a form or a tint on the hill-side, 
and seen how these men render it, then you may take their 
assistance in rendering it for yourself, and they or any true 
painter will rather thank you for it, feeling that their work 




has taught you something and been a real work of kindness 
and good to you. As a rule, never adopt or copy any feature 
of a picture without identifying it in Nature. 

The Durer woodcuts will teach you, better than anything 
else can, the value of detail in landscape, and the power 
which is gained over Nature by manfully drawing in line all 
that comes in one's way. Ordinary modern water-colourists 

1 The Old Water-Colour Society drawings of Mr. A. W. Hunt and Mr. Newton 
seem to be entitled to especial attention this year (1874), and those of Mr. Goodwin 
still more so. It is best to retain our references to the works of older masters, as 
being more widely dispersed and more accessible to the student. 



1 36 RIGHT DRA WING BY RIGHT LINES. 

pay no real attention to form at all. Durer lets no form 
escape him ; and by following him, first by copying his works, 
then by drawing from Nature as he drew, you fill your paper 
and your mind with natural facts. The wash of colour 
teaches nothing but technical handiness in laying it on, which 
is quite as surely acquired by studying fortns to lay it on by. 
And do not fret at the infiniteness of what you see, or despair 
of drawing anything because you cannot draw all things 
together. Durer will teach you at least to draw anything 
separately, or a great many things together. 

You may perhaps form a conjecture about the present 
state of your natural powers for landscape, by the interest 
you are capable of feeling in Durer's distances, where every 
tree and bush is drawn, and nothing left unaccounted for. 
You may also judge of the correctness of your own eye, by 
the difficulty you will find in really making a fac-simile of his 
work. And so in a higher degree with Turner. An intelli- 
gent and perfect imitation of the lines of one of his land- 
scapes implies at the least careful reading of Nature and long 
discipline of hand. This you are bound to try for. The best 
way which is generally open at present is by going through a 
regular course of free-hand drawing, such as is taught in our 
elementary Art-schools, and described towards the end of this 
chapter, with examples. It is of almost vital importance to 
you to learn the use of straight lines for correct object 
drawing. At all events you may go so far as to learn to 
draw some simple object correctly by right lines, and then to 
try and draw it by your eye alone. You will see the 
difference between setting to work like a workman and like 
an amateur, in that real sense of the terms which we shall 
hereafter explain. In our view the best workman who ever 
held a brush was still an amateur, a man loving beauty and 
skill and their Maker and Giver, yet unable to reach the 
perfection of any natural work of His hand. And any 
amateur who does his best, i. e. chooses the best means, not 
the easiest, for the highest end he is capable of desiring, is a 
true though imperfect workman. 

But if, in spite of all advice, you are determined not to 
draw stright lines ; then take to your Durer tracings and the 



FIRST USE OF A PHOTOGRAPH. 141 

examples here given. But give your whole attention to them 
and do your very best, now and at all times, in Art, for in it 
as in all things, no advance worth making is ever won easily. 
When you are a workman, you will do rapidly and rightly 
what you have often done before ; but even then you will 
always find further advance strain your eye and put your 
mind on its mettle. 

EXERCISE III. 

Take a simple photograph of some piece of landscape you 
rather like, not of a very striking or impressive subject, or of 
one which has any very exciting association connected with 
it in your mind. Trace all the main lines you can find in it, 
and transfer them to drawing-paper. Then set the photo- 
graph before you, and, using your traced lines as a guide, try 
to fill up your drawing in pen and ink, after Durer's manner, 
or in the fashion of the woodcut of the large ' erratic ' on the 
glacier. Try to secure character before all things, and never 
mind how your work looks. Do not work too long at a time, 
as your eye and attention will get fatigued and unable to bid 
your hand do its work with precision ; a tired eye is always 
disgusted and vexed with the look of its work, however good 
it may be. 

If you have been used to sketch, you may try to work out 
some one small object from Nature thus, in pen and ink or 
with a hard pencil. 

EXERCISE IV. 

Take a roll of whitey-brown paper with a narrow crimson 
band or zig-zag on it, or a wooden cylinder, or a tennis-ball, 
or the cast of an apple. Let it rest on a piece of light grey 
or drab paper between yourself and the light. It ought not to 
be disturbed till you have done with it, and you ought to sit 
always in the same place, at the same distance and angle with 
the light. Observe its light side and its dark side, and the 
shadow under it which is darker than its dark side l . Mix a 
tint of sepia which is as deep or nearly as deep as the shadow, 

1 These are all light-coloured objects. The shadow of a black ball or cylinder 
would not be darker than its shaded side. 



1 42 LIGHT AND SHADE EXERCISE. 

and mark with it the place of deepest shade. When it is 
take a rather large brush and the lightest tint you can make, 
and carry that all over the rough outline you have made. 
(Better draw a square first, then a circle within it touching 
its sides, if you have a ball to represent.) You will then have 
your darkest point of shadow and your high light marked, and 
your object is to get the greatest possible gradation between 
those two tints, so as to give the greatest possible roundness 
to your cylinder or ball. You should repeat this exercise 
many times, and each time on a different scale. The larger 
copies should be made in sepia, or with chalk or a broad 
pencil, using intersecting lines as in the 'square exercise'; the 
smaller ones must be in pen and ink, and in all the grada- 
tions must be brought right, that is to say, led imperceptibly 
into each other from light to dark. There must be neither 
streak nor spot. When one occurs, especially when you are 
using the brush and sepia, do not rub out, but try to fit in the 
intrusive shade by means of lines drawn all round it, 
' hatched,' as engravers say, or lightly drawn across and 
across. The exercise in squares has in effect taught you how 
to do this, and there is great value in this kind of practice in 
correction, or working wrong into right. It gives you con- 
fidence in being able to mend your work into something at 
last in every case ; it educates your eye and hand in firmness 
and patience ; and it will also give you so much trouble that 
you will instinctively avoid it as much as possible by cau- 
tion and precision in your beginnings. The drawing of the 
pomegranate (Chap. II.) will give you some idea of what 
workmanlike accuracy of shading really is, and will be a 
good model for you as your skill advances. 

It is good practice to draw a deep strong line across a 
piece of light shadow, and then work the shadow darker, 
hatching across and across, till the line is imperceptible and 
only forms a part of the mass of shade. 

If you wish, however, to wash out and begin again, 
be careful in all cases to wash clean out and leave nothing 
behind. 

These exercises must be repeated over and over again until 
you can produce a well-rounded drawing of an apple or a ball 



ROUNDING. 143 

with certainty, and in a moderate time. By the time you 
can do so you will begin to see how much form has to do 
with the laying on of shades, much more of colours. Even in 
so simple a thing as a tennis-ball it makes all the difference 
between good work and bad to lay on the different coats of 
shade rapidly, and with a sense of the shape of each shade 
you are putting on. With a round object, these shades will 
mostly take a crescent form. Each must be suffered to dry 
perfectly before another is laid over it ; for the standing rule 
of all water-colour is never to touch any tint twice until it is 
dry, right or wrong. It will be well at first only to use one 
brush, and to leave the edges of the successive shades to be 
softened into each other afterwards by means of hatched 
lines. But you will soon find it convenient to work with two 
brushes ; a smaller one to lay on the tint, and a rather larger 
one (always kept quite clean) to soften off the edges while 
still wet. 

When you have fairly learnt the processes of rounding and 
gradating in sepia, turn to our lithograph of the apple in light 
and shade. It is arranged to illustrate the relation of colour 
to light and shade, but will answer ' your present purpose 
fairly well. First make a pencil copy of the lithograph, 
paying strict attention to the shading, and getting the spots 
and the undulation of the faint stripes tolerably right. Then 
treat some similar apple in the same way, place it where it 
will not be disturbed (it should stand against a plain wall or 
screen), and make a careful drawing of it, in pencil or sepia. 
A whitish or light-coloured ground will be best. Draw it 
carefully in line first, then begin rounding and modelling. I 
you cannot take interest in this, it is a bad sign for your 
prospects of ever becoming a draughtsman ; but if you can 
get yourself to take pains at it, you will soon feel interest 
enough. As soon as you have put on one set of shadows, 
wash in a background of sepia half-tint, behind your apple, 
so as to get it to stand out as a lightish object, as it would tell 
in a large picture : then complete it as perfectly as you can. 

You had better next begin to draw shells of broad and 
simple form ; first in outline, then in sepia shading. Or you 
may go through a course of single flowers or leaves ; if you 



j 44 GRA DA TION EXER CISE. 

will be content to repeat whatever you undertake till it is 
right, or to patch it into correctness at last. The great 
engineer's advice about the embankment applies to water- 
colour as well as water-works : ' Puddle it." ' We have 
puddled it.' 'Puddle it again.' This rule must be varied 
for different pupils, or for the same person at different times. 
At all times the greatest attention should be paid to the 
first steps of the work, and operations must never be begun 
till everything is quite ready. So much depends in water- 
colour on perfect mixture of tints, on their even flow from 
the brush, and on consequent success in floating on the first 
tints, that these exercises and the next cannot be practised 
too often. 

But it will save you time and trouble in the end, and give 
you additional power from the first, if you will consent to 
begin at the beginning with the Student's Drill we are going 
to describe. There is one more exercise a necessary piece 
of dexterity in gradating colour over a large space, which 
you will see the advantage of practising : it is the surest 
method of obtaining brilliancy in sunset or sunrise effects, 
or of getting clearness in large cloud forms. The works of 
the late W. Turner, of Oxford, were well known in the Old 
Water- Colour Society for their power of light and colour ; 
and this was his sole method of gradation. Practise it at 
first with sepia only, and you will get an idea of the great 
luminous effect which can be produced by using the darkest 
colour ; in short, you will see that light and darkness are 
truly correlative terms. 

EXERCISE V. 

Have paper properly stretched, or at least a full-sized 
sketching-block. Wet its surface with a flat brush not 
drenching it, but wetting the whole. Slope it and let it dry 
till colour will not run on any part of it : and meanwhile 
prepare a good pool of water-colour, proportioned to the 
space you have to cover. Have clean water by you as well 
as that which you have used, and two rather large brushes 
(I like /0--haired red sables for almost all kinds of work) ; 



METHOD OF THE LATE W. TURNER. 145 

fill one of them nearly full, and begin to lay on the mixed 
tint across the paper at the top, from left to right : when 
it grows empty, drop two or three drops of clean water into 
the mixed tint with the other, or clean brush ; mix up all 
with the working brush, and lay on the resulting tint, which 
will be just lighter than the first; nearly empty the working 
brush, drop in more clean water with the other, mix up and 
proceed till you have gone over the whole paper. You ought 
to arrive at the bottom of it with nearly clean water in your 
brush, and with a perfect gradation from the top of the paper. 
Do not try to get on too strong a tint in one wash, the 
difficulty is too great ; and repeating it is quite safe, if you 
allow it plenty of time to dry. 

You will see that having done this properly with any sunset 
blue tint (say cobalt and rose madder) you may slope the 
paper (when dry) the other way, and lay on the yellow tint, 
of yellow-ochre or cadmium and rose, from the horizon of 
your picture where you mean the light to be strongest, to the 
top, over the blue-grey. A skilful person will gradate from 
purple-grey to pale pink, and from that to yellow in a single 
wash, by dipping the working brush lightly in tints of rose- 
madder and then of yellow, whenever he drops in the clear 
water to lighten the blue. This is in fact substituting first 
the rose for the blue, then the yellow for the rose. But it 
requires great skill and steadiness, and cannot be done 
without that peculiar handiness with brushes and colour 
saucers which seems to require long habit and experience 
in any man, and which some persons never gain, not even 
though their eyes and hands are cunning enough on paper 
or canvas when the right brush is in their hands. We now 
begin our proper course at its beginning. At the end of it 
the landscape-amateur and the student who has worked 
through the course will be prepared to draw from casts. 
We think the latter will to a certainty draw casts better 
than the former. But the former will as certainly learn 
much by doing them as well as he can. They will in fact 
throw him back on the practice of free-hand drawing in 
line, and it is our object to do so. 



146 STRAIGHT LINES. 



STUDENT'S DRILL. EXERCISES. 

1. Draw a straight line, by the eye, from right to left across 
your paper. Bisect it. 

2. Draw another line at right angles to it from top to 
bottom of your paper. Bisect it. 

3. Practise trisections of both these lines, and accustom 
your eye to take lines in thirds or halves at will. 

These lines, and all others, are first to be sketched very 
lightly with a fine but not hard pencil, cut to a long and sharp 
point. Hold it long in your hand, and use it with a motion 
from the shoulder, not resting your hand or working from the 
fingers, only letting your little finger slide over the paper to 
steady you. When the lines are accurately traced out, they 
must be almost entirely rubbed out, and gone over again with 
an HH pencil and a firm single line. Great care must be 
taken to keep this line even. It does not signify whether it 
be broad or fine, provided it be always of the same breadth 
throughout. In drawing it you will of course have to rest 
your hand a good deal, to work from the fingers, and to make 
your line with short successive touches, painting it as it were, 
for precision's sake, and for even pressure on the pencil point. 
But still hold the pencil long, and rest the hand lightly, so as 
not to cramp the fingers. It will be best to measure distances 
at first, with dividers or a slip of paper, but always do so to 
correct your first sketch, never in the first instance, or before 
it is complete *. 

A page or two of the earlier part of ' Dyce's Outlines ' will 
supply you with plenty of simple curves to copy by the eye, 
and a few are given here selected as proper practice for the 
necessary use of straight lines. Some are regular and simple, 
others irregular and more complicated. When you can draw 
the easier ones with a fair amount of accuracy that is to say, 
when your circles or ellipses are true, and drawn of the same 



1 This rule is not invariable. I fear that measuring is always a necessary process, 
to old eyes as well as young. At all events it saves so much time as to be highly 
advisable in many cases. 



CUR VES. 147 

size with the copy, though that copy be at a distance from 
your eye, you may proceed to the irregular and more varied 
curves. Something will be said in a chapter on Composition 
about natural curves, and there or here you will do well to 
read the i/th chapter of Ruskin's 'Modern Painters,' vol. iv. 
It may be said that all the most beautiful lines or contours 
in Nature are infinite, springing from their origin into space, 
and not returning into themselves ; and also irregular, that is 
to say, not yet subject to mathematical calculation. And to 
be able to draw these abstract lines correctly by rule of 
thumb, drawing the proper tangents and co-ordinates without 
knowing anything in theory about tangents and co-ordinates, 
is what the eye of every draughtsman should be educated to 
do. Also, it is especially necessary for those to learn it who 
fret most against it. This uninteresting work is especially 
wearisome to those who have strong feeling for seen beauty, 
and want to produce it themselves by force of feeling without 
power. For some time they must be kept gaining power, 
without being excited by the beauty of what they copy ; and 
practise the short rule for all curves ; which is to ' put them 
in strait waistcoats.' The eye can always from the first be 
taught to judge of the length or direction of straight lines ; 
and this is not possible with curves. This rule applies to 
all drawing of form, from the solid object as well as from 
the flat. 



L 2 



148 



CURVES. 




CURVE No. i. 



The continuous lines represent the figure to be drawn, the dotted ones 
those necessary for its construction. 

Begin by drawing (very lightly) two lines at right angles to each 
other AB, CD, making E their point of intersection, and AE = CE = 
BE = DE. 

Join AC, CB, BD, DA, and bisect them all by lines at right angles, 
intersecting in E, lettered ac, bd; bisect aA, Ad, &c., all round. The 
curves of the stem leave Bb, for example, at the point of bisection ending 
half way between b and E. Mark those points, and then draw the curve 
from one to another, beginning on the right line, and leading it away 
into the curve, at each end. Repeat this next at Be ; as (N.B.) it is much 
easier to draw curves in pairs ; and so all round. You will have eight 
points to guide you in drawing your inner circle, the circumference of 
which is half-way between E and the spring of the curves. 

Having drawn all this lightly with an F pencil, rub it nearly out, just 
leaving enough to guide your eye ; then go over the lines of the star with 
an HH pencil and a firm even line. 



CUR VES. 149 

The straight rays from the circle are ad libitum. 

There are one or two cautions for drawing these and other subjects, 
which will probably be repeated more than once in this book ; but they 
must at all events be given here : 

1. Notice whether your habit of eye is to draw too large or too small. 
The former is more general : most beginners draw about one-fourth too 
large ; but the contrary is often the case. 

2. Children and all early beginners should always have the merest out- 
lines or silhouette forms to draw from. Perspective (even in bare line) 
confuses the attention at first, and early progress depends very much on 
a habit of success. First lessons, if possible, should be so easy as to secure 
the pupil from failure. This is why tracing is recommended in amateur 
drill. In making a traced outline on drawing-paper the pencil will move 
three times over the lines pretty correctly. It is better to do so at first 
than to spend twice the time in drawing the lines once incorrectly. 

' Dyce's Outlines' (price 4-r. 6d., Messrs. Chapman and Hall, 193 
Piccadilly) will be fully sufficient for any learner as a book of free-hand 
copies. The later examples are chosen mostly from Renaissance orna- 
ment, and might not benefit the pupil's taste ; but long before he reaches 
them he will be only too eager to close the book for ever and proceed to 
solid drawing. No one is likely to receive a bias from them, and no one 
can fail to learn to draw in line from them. 

Do not fall into the habit of working too near your eye. You will see 
much better what your drawing will be like to others, and to you when 
finished, by keeping it a yard from your face at least. 




CURVE No. 2. 

Our second example speaks for itself tolerably well. First draw the 
large parallelogram which contains both the flower ornaments. Then 
bisect it, continuing the perpendicular line. That gives you a central 
line ; and a little below the lower side of the parallelogram is a point 
on the perpendicular which is the origin of all the curves. Straight lines 
drawn from thence would make each of the halves of the large parallelo- 
gram into a square. Diagonals of those squares will give you a centre 
line for the flower curves. 

A second, and if necessary a third, parallelogram may be drawn from 
the line which passes through the origin of the curves, to guide the eye in 
completing the figure correctly. 





CURVES Nos. 3 and 4. 

These curves illustrate the process of blocking out by leading lines. 
The first thing, as will be seen, is to get the main curves right, by placing 
them in parallelograms. They may then be subdivided. 




CURVE No. 5. (Natural Lines. .) 



QUESTION OF INDULGENCE. 153 



CURVE No. 5. (Natural Lines.) 

This example is nearly contained in a rectangle, which will at once give 
you the scale on which you wish to draw it. Divide it by straight lines 
touching the chief extremities of the leaves. Then draw the main stem 
carefully as far as the last, or upper, four leaves : next, get the central line 
of each leaf, and draw the others round it, using guiding lines as in the 
copy. The upper four leaves had better be taken last, and may be 
inscribed in a small parallelogram of their own. 

REMARKS. 

It is a question which is certain to come before every 
master of an Art-school very early in his career, how far 
he may modify or relax the excellent system of instruction 
which is laid down for him by our authorities. Pupils must 
have some indulgence from time to time, and it is difficult 
to say whether the younger or older ones will want it most. 
Those who want it least are not always likely to become 
the best painters, though for the present they are the best 
pupils ; as there is a sensitive impatience of eagerness as 
well as the impatience of idleness, and older pupils of educa- 
tion and feeling are well worth breaking in, though they are 
always hurrying on into difficulties which they have not 
learned to appreciate. They must be enticed into a certain 
amount of useful work somehow, and induced to invest effort 
and interest of mind in drawing straight lines, instead of 
spending it at once on colour or finished work. This is 
why the tracing and afterwards the pen-and-ink drawing 
from Durer has been put first in our course for grown or 
partially-instructed persons. It is conceived that those ex- 
ercises, as well as that from the photograph, will give the 
learner some idea of the multiplicity of Nature and of the 
difficulty as well as the interest of translating Nature into 
line. When it has been gone through, or as soon as the 
pupil is decidedly improving in exactness of hand and eye, 
some well-finished drawing of a simple subject in chalk or 
in sepia should be put before him, and an appeal should be 
made to him whether he had not better begin to do simple 
work in a workmanlike way, and really learn the necessary 



154 FREEDOM OF HAND. 

processes and exercises, instead of trying to pick them up 
irregularly. As soon as he has really learnt to feel the 
difference between correct and incorrect drawing, it may 
seem matter of common-sense to him to go well through that 
plain training in the use of straight lines which will enable 
him to command correct form. In short, he will consent to 
draw a few free-hand curves and patterns ; and this done, 
he must consent further to go through a little more drill in 
shading from the object, just to learn to lay on and gradate 
a tint with the point or fine brush in a mechanical way. 
The sooner our pupil is got to his egg, or apple, or gallipot 
copy the better. And then, we think, he may be allowed to 
learn to stipple and hatch his work into flatness, either by 
use of pen and ink, as in Prof. Ruskin's first exercises, or by 
the brush and sepia, or with chalk. Something is to be said 
in favour of each : the pen and ink is trenchant and fine, 
and gives confidence and pleasure in minute work ; but it 
wearies the eye and keeps it too near its work. Brush and 
sepia are faint and delicate and give nicety in distinction 
of shade : moreover, as a man is to have the brush in his 
hand all his days, he cannot make acquaintance with it too 
soon. But he must learn to use the point so as to get quite 
even shade and gradation with it, and the chalk point has 
great advantages for study, from the boldness and freedom 
which is gained in its use. Of course it is no use to be bold 
in wrong drawing, but straight shading-lines are easily drawn 
with a free hand. It may be well for a learner to get a habit of 
occasionally writing from the shoulder, letting his whole hand 
play on the paper : it will make his writing rather flourishing 
at first, but it is not bad practice for a draughtsman. 

It is surprising how much neatness of stippling may be 
learnt by practising Prof. Ruskin's squares in pen and ink 
in any odd five minutes of time when one is left alone with 
that vehicle of expression. A spare quarter of an hour is 
time enough to draw a jar or inkstand in correct outline, or 
at least to take its distances and block it out in square, as 
the examples of curve in this chapter. Practice of this sort 
is of the greatest value, as it gives speed, decision, and rapid 
calculation and eye-measurement better than anything else ; 



CHARCOAL DRAWING AS IN FRANCE. 155 

and once begun it will be found pleasant enough. He who 
can once sit down and begin to draw a few folds of curtain 
or odds and ends, when he is left alone in a waiting room, 
instead of reading the advertisements in the ' Times ' or the 
bills on the wall, will soon have an amusing set of sketches, 
and, what is far more, he will always be ready to draw every- 
thing. There never is a time when a painter can afford to 
leave off studying pure form : even if he is given over entirely 
to landscape, he ought to keep studying the figure in line, 
and, if possible, on a large free scale. The French use of 
charcoal is admirable in work of this kind ; and their system, 
as recommended by Mr. Armitage, appears less mechanical 
and more artistic than our own, which was originally estab- 
lished rather with a view to training pupils to applied Art 
for commercial purposes, than with the idea of making 
painters. In the great French ateliers, the elaborate chalk 
stippling does not occupy so much time as in England. 
Time is devoted rather to continual and extremely accurate 
study of form by means of straight lines. 'The English 
students do not draw square enough,' say our neighbours ; 
that is to say, they spend time on texture and the toil of 
stippling and hatching really produces little more instead 
of close continual measurement and calculation of distances 
and angles, and patient triangulation of .the model. Nicety 
in judgment of pitch and flatness of shade may come after : 
all the pupil's time, till he can produce something worthy of 
high finish, ought to be spent in study of line, and in storing 
his ocular memory with facts and observations of subtle form. 
It is quite true, on the other hand, that the facts of surface- 
form are best learnt perhaps can only be learnt by long 
practice in shading; but it ought to be of significant shade 
indicative of form or structure. 

The materials for study in use in French schools are 
charcoal and a paper stump for blending lines together, or 
for taking out half-lights. Bread rolled into a pencil-point 
is used to remove high lights, as in chalk drawing ; and the 
work when finished is set by an application of mastic varnish 
on the back of the paper, which is quite soft and spongy. 
This paper is always to be had at Lechertier and Barbe's in 



156 STUDY OF FORM APART FROM COLOUR. 

the Quadrant. The main lines once obtained by ca reful calcu- 
lation of the various distances and scrupulously exact ' square ' 
drawing, or 'blocking out in straight lines,' the charcoal is 
hatched on and rubbed with the stump and ringer to tolerable 
evenness of half-tint over the main shades, and the work is 
then gone carefully over, every light in the copy being faith- 
fully rubbed out with bread or the stump, and the stronger 
darks added afterwards. 

It is also asserted, and we think that it may be true in 
the case of many highly-educated pupils, that some relief is 
necessary in another way. It is well to abstract form from 
colour, and for a time to give a student nothing but plaster 
casts to copy. But he ought also to see aud make studies 
in light and shade from natural objects in colour as soon as 
he is able. It cannot be as instructive to him to work from 
a dirty-white plaster cast as from the original of the same in 
its natural bright colours ; and any advancing student or 
amateur who wants the encouragement of a change of lesson 
may be supplied with a series of shells for study. The 
simpler forms should come first, the more difficult later; 
and when they have been successfully modelled in light and 
shade with brush and sepia, they may be repeated with some 
attempt to imitate their marvellous colours. It will be seen 
that the eye ought to be early accustomed to work in light 
and shade from natural coloured objects in the studio, in 
order to acquire power of estimating the value of various 
hues in terms of light and shade. 

These remarks are addressed to masters rather than to 
pupils. We began with, and we hope to sustain throughout, 
a protest against all royal roads and all false progress ; but 
we think that people learn the grammar of Art in very 
different ways, just as they learn any other grammar, and 
that, practically speaking, it may be best that Art-masters 
should be allowed a considerable discretion in their treatment 
of different pupils. Some encouragement should be given 
as soon as the pupil can get a correct outline : the regular 
course should not be deserted, but he should be encouraged 
by being allowed to make experiments. Above all, he should 
begin to be admitted to see beauty in what he draws, and 



TURNER AND HOLBEIN. 157 

get accustomed to the excitement and flurry which delicate 
form and colour in a shell or a flower really produce in every 
keen student who has learnt to see. Fine execution is a 
means rather than an end, after all, and should be learnt 
as a means and not an end ; if the pupil is over-broken to 
stippling and hatching at first, when he comes to Nature 
he will only look for things which he can stipple and hatch. 
In short, there is a difference between the restlessness of 
eagerness and the restlessness of idleness ; and according to 
the master's judgment of him and what he will bear, he may 
allow him to attempt easy colour too soon, or to study with 
the brush rather than the point. But in no case ought mathe- 
matically correct study of form ever to be long discontinued, 
for any reason whatever. 

Both in landscape and figure work it seems to me that 
as soon as the pupil has reached the point at which he may 
attempt original work in light and shade, he ought to be set 
to reproduce sketches of his own in imitation of two models. 
One, as we have said, is Turner's ' Liber Studiorum ' ; the 
other is Holbein. I have elsewhere mentioned the invaluable 
photographs from the latter artist published by Mr. Dowdes- 
well, Chancery Lane : and there can be nothing much better 
for the workman, young or old, than to study and imitate 
them. They are not pretty ; there is no Italian grace in 
them : but there is a good deal in Art besides such beauty 
as Correggio and Guido sought and found ; and no one who 
has learned to understand and appreciate the insight, feeling, 
and technical power of these drawings, can have any reason 
to regret the time he certainly must have spent in learning 
to judge of Art. One may just mention the faces of the 
mockers of our Lord as examples of unmitigated Teutonic 
power in painful subject, and the standing female figure 
with her back to the spectator as a specimen of every 
beauty of form. The latter deserves attention, moreover, 
because her dress is nearly in accordance with one of the 
latest and most graceful of our modern fashions, and suggests 
the idea that if ladies would look a little more at pictures 
worth looking at, they would obtain some capital hints on 
the really important matter, as we consider it, of their own 
appearance. For every artist must feel it highly important 



158 DRA WINGS IN OXFORD GALLERIES. 

that the most ornamental objects in creation should really 
be fit to be seen. But the way in which both Holbein and 
Turner's studies are made is worthy of great attention and 
careful imitation. The outlines are drawn firmly in pen and 
ink probably in indelible ink ; then the light and shade are 
put decisively and quickly on with the brush, so that the 
strong brown contours look no more than guiding lines, and 
assist the eye without offending it. No form of study can 
be better for the student who has made himself a work- 
man, or something like it, by hard judicious practice, and 
who wants to try an idea or an impression of his own, 
or to realize a sketch for pictorial form. The lines first, 
unalterably : then the forms in chiaroscuro up to the lines ; 
the flesh of the work gradually gathered to its bones until 
something of life and the spirit of the painter is breathed 
into the work. It is, of course, anticipating matters to say 
much here of original drawing. Yet all drawing from Nature 
is original, in the first and essential sense : it is distinguished 
absolutely from copying, because of the greater multiplicity 
and difficulty of the real thing as a copy. And some system 
of practice, either in rendering a natural object in terms of 
light and shade, or writing down a thought or idea in terms 
of light and shade, is highly important. Our course began 
with lines, with Durer for multiplicity, with unmeaning 
straight lines, curves and patterns, to gain precision ; then it 
went on to technical and mechanical use of shade, since shade 
expresses form in Nature ; and lines, like letters, not existing 
in Nature, still teach men to understand form conventionally. 
The next step is proper combination ; of line, with the 
light and shade which constitute form as distinguished from 
line. And such combination, as far as we can make out, is 
best seen either in the two sets of examples we have men- 
tioned, or in galleries of sketches and preliminary studies 
by great masters, such as those of the University Gallery in 
Oxford 1 . The University now possesses a complete course 
of Turner's works, from his simplest broad chalk sketches 
or experiments to his most refined water-colour execution. 

1 A selection of most accurately-reduced copies of these drawings has been pub- 
lished by J. Fisher, Esq., Curator of the Gallery. (Bell and Daldy, 1867.) 



DRAWINGS IN OXFORD GALLERIES. 159 

And besides this, for the regular student, there are large 
numbers of Rafael's and Michael Angelo's sketches and 
groups, of very great intrinsic value, and quite priceless as 
models to copy. The use of the hard point everywhere is 
a great technical characteristic of these drawings, and it is 
very commonly combined with washes, or forms put de- 
cidedly in with the brush. These works ought to be put 
to their proper educational purposes ; and, indeed, any one 
who wishes to study them can obtain permission to do so. 
First, careful copying, and secondly imitation, of these works 
of Turner and Holbein, will afford the best advanced practice 
in light and shade we know of. 



NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH AND WOODCUT 
AT PAGE 139. 

This photograph is inserted, because it seems to me to be a rather happy instance 
of natural lines converging in a very pleasing way, and is accordingly in itself a 
composition, such as the sketcher from Nature should look for. But though so 
well chosen by the photographer, it has not printed happily, and I fear the drawing 
from it needs apology. Still the large block of stone will do well enough to trace 
from, as an example of lines expressing structure. The rest may be omitted, unless 
the whole be copied as a vignette in sepia. 



CHAPTER II. 

DRAWING FROM THE CAST. 

IT will be observed that in our opening chapter on Free- 
hand Drawing we have taken into consideration, and 
made certain allowances for, the case of a large number of 
people who care much for Art and Nature, but who have 
begun their study of Art, so to speak, in the middle. They 
are a specially numerous, and indeed important body in our 
own country, and they have arisen with the rise of the 
modern English school of landscape, and with that great 
feeling for the beauty of inanimate nature which finds its 
text-book and manifesto in the earlier works of Prof. Ruskin. 
No one can doubt as to the effect of such a comment on 
Turner's interpretation of Nature as these works contain. A 
demand at once arose for assistance in the study of Nature, 
and principally for good water-colour instruction. In this 
branch of Art the frequent references made by Prof. Ruskin 
to the works of Harding, Cox, Prout, Copley Fielding, 
Stanfield and others, supply the pupil with what may be 
called a gallery of reference for preparatory study, which 
will enable him to appreciate the greatest works of Turner 
in due time. All this is excellent, and has produced great 
results. But it is certain that Prof. Ruskin never wished to 
confine the studies of his disciples to landscape, still less to 
landscape inaccurately drawn ; on the contrary, we have 
heard the severity of his system of working complained of 
somewhat unreasonably. And in some of his published 
lectures he lays down the principle which our Art Schools 
follow in common with him, that all Art work and study, 
even in simple decoration and ornament, is based on drawing 



STUDY OF THE HUMAN FORM. 161 

from the Human Figure. The proper study of mankind is 
Man, in painting as well as in poetry or philosophy : per- 
haps for the same reason in both its great difficulty and 
absorbing interest. When the pupil has worked through a 
proper series of casts of other objects of inferior beauty, and 
can draw their lines correctly, and see and lay on their 
darkest and faintest shades in fine gradation, he is fit to 
begin drawing such casts as that of the Discobolus, which is 
one of our chosen models of Art-anatomy. Correct drawing 
of the figure is the end of Drill and the beginning of Art. 

On the principles of modern schools, all drill in form, 
leads to the study of the human body. By the word ' form ' 
in this book, is meant not only outline or the conventional 
boundary of form, but more particularly that modelling of 
surface within the outline which expresses internal structure. 
This is called 'the light and shade of the particular object,' 
although it varies with every relative position of the object 
and the light in which it is seen. For however the appear- 
ance of the shadow may vary, the modifications of surface 
which produce it remain a constant quantity in the par- 
ticular object. They always cast a shadow of their own, 
which resembles them in form though every change of the 
angle at which light falls on the object brings fresh modifi- 
cations of its surface into sight. 

' Even landscape painters,' says Mr. Armitage, ' would be 
the better for a course of real drawing.' This sentence is 
one to be carefully considered by professed artists as well 
as amateurs. And the latter, we think, should attend to it in 
particular ; that is to say, educated adults who wish really to 
take to drawing ought to think seriously whether it may not be 
better to begin with their course of ' real drawing,' and learn to 
go through operations methodically and correctly, and to draw 
simple things right in the first instance, by simple rules 
which will apply afterwards to difficult and complicated 
things. It is not easier to draw a sketch of a glen or a 
stream than to draw the cast of a pomegranate ; yet how 
many persons with the painter's instinct in them will begin 
with a complicated piece of scenery and reject the dull be- 
ginning. They had rather, they admit, make a futile sketch 

M 



1 62 ACCURACY. 

of a beautiful thing which will assist their memory, &c., than 
make a good drawing of an ugly thing ; and it is easier too. 
No doubt it is. We are afraid that this position is impreg- 
nable ; for it really implies thorough inattention to the 
subject. People can only keep in the persuasion that a 
ridiculous caricature of a beautiful thing is better than a 
good drawing of' a simple thing, by deliberate neglect of 
mind : they will, in fact, hear no reply. 

We must say to all alike, Correctness first, beauty after- 
wards. If you like deforming Nature first, and sentimen- 
talizing over your deformity afterwards, it is not forbidden 
in a free country. But you ought to begin with steadying 
your hand and eye by drawing straight lines and rounding 
eggs or apples. If you will not ; if you are already a sketcher ; 
if real love of Nature made you one, and you have inno- 
cently begun with beauty, you have begun with pudding 
before meat. Still you may make a good meal if you come 
to the meat at last. But as at present nothing but pudding 
will tempt your artistic palate, a piece of Albert Durer, a 
woodcut of the characteristic lines of a photograph, and the 
photograph itself, have been prepared for you in Chapter I. 
You are first to trace them, then to draw them in pen and 
ink. You may perhaps work them out tolerably ; but if 
you cannot do them, why not begin with what you can 
do ; as, for instance, the curves given in that chapter, or 
some of the easiest casts in this ? If you know what Beauty 
is, is she not worth serving two months for? If that be all, 
you will find her in the casts quickly enough. 

Landscape, in fact, is an excellent introduction to the love 
of Art, but it is not all Art, or the highest thing in it, nor, 
perhaps, the best thing to begin Art-work with. The great 
thing is that it teaches people to look at nature before any- 
thing else can, and also commits them to practice in Art by 
giving them the pleasure of little successes at first. Turner's 
first attempts, as they are now to be seen, we think, at South 
Kensington, are as frank rudimentary efforts at doing what he 
wished to do but could not do in colour, as any ordinary 
sketcher's. He soon withdrew into grey, and began at the 
beginning, with hard-pencilled straight lines, of walls, &c. 



SKILL VERSUS BEAUTY. 163 

In a future chapter on Sketching from Nature, for travellers 
or persons pressed for time, we shall return to the word 
' amateur ' and make some inquiries about it. At present we 
have only to say that whatever amateur work may mean 
beside, it does not mean incorrect work, but incomplete work ; 
and that work done wrong is not done at all, but only 
attempted in a futile manner. A problem or a sum is not 
done when you have multiplied and divided wrong and 
brought out a wrong answer ; nor is one's argument com- 
pleted, when one has reduced oneself ad absurdum by one's 
own statements, and ceased to argue. But Amateur, we 
suppose, means Lover of Beauty : and all beginners, old and 
young, are apt to mistake what is meant for mere training of 
the hand and eye for serious endeavour to express beauty. 
They feel it no small vexation to have to pass hours in 
producing a well-rounded drawing of an apple by way of 
training, when they want to paint some favourite scene or 
portrait straightway. As we have said, the pupil, as such, 
must put by all his feelings about beauty. They may be 
intense to passion ; but it is ' skill ' alone which ' wins grace 1 ,' 
not the mere feeling of what one could do if one was skilful. 
No one must think at first of acquiring skill and producing 
beauty at the same time. So let our pupil repeat the exer- 
cises set down for him with a good courage. The Durer- 
copying is, in fact, a concession to the landscape sketcher, and 
only granted him in the hope that, having acquired some little 
accuracy and real power by irregular means, he will seek to 
gain more by simpler and severer drawing. But for years of 
progress it will be highly expedient for him to go back to 
simple exercises from time to time, and practise plain light 
and shade at intervals : it will ensure his returning to the use 
of colour with renewed power. 

For our instruments of study, the young artist will pro- 
bably begin by working in charcoal and chalk. We think 
that if he makes rapid progress in their use, which is not 
unlikely, supposing he has been in the habit of drawing rocks 
or trees with care and accuracy, he may soon be promoted to 
the use of the brush, in water-colour first, and subsequently in 

1 Kunst macht gunst. 
M 2 



1 64 USE OF THE BRUSH. 

-oil. Colour is out of the question till an able and uncompro- 
mising master can be got to say he is fit to use it ; and that 
cannot well be for months. But he may try what experiments 
he likes in it out of school. There are many grown pupils, 
we think, who will really be better able to use the brush than 
the crayon : and if it be so, we do not see why they should 
not be allowed to put on their lights and shades with the 
tool to which they are best accustomed : that is to say, after 
they have drawn their subject carefully in line, and secured a 
proper framework of form to work upon. For aught we see, 
the water-colour brush and sepia are as good instruments of 
study as the crayon : and indeed in very deep-toned or large 
subjects they may be assisted by chalk shading. It is also 
remarked that many beginners find it much more difficult to 
see or express gradations by means of chalk lines, than to 
deal with it in water-colour washes. Of course it will often 
be convenient to work up a drawing as far as possible in 
pencil, and then wash it lightly with sepia. We have some 
difficulty in saying whether this license for the brush may not 
even be carried farther where a person is tolerably well skilled 
in form, that is to say, when he has acquired the habit of 
drawing correctly by putting on patches of light or of shade 
in definite shape ; supposing him to have gained this power 
(and good landscape amateurs often have gained it), we 
do not in that case see why he should not study the figure by 
means of monochrome in oil. He must go through his course 
of line-drawing, till he can put the leading lines of a cast on 
his canvas correctly ; then we think he may paint Its forms in 
white and umber. He must not think of colour till he knows 
the use of the brush, and till he has also learnt subtlety in 
surface-light and shade. 

The pupil must now be put through a course of drawing 
from casts of various objects, as a preparation for drawing 
from the human figure. We prefer his working from casts of 
objects in the school. At other times, we give him leave for 
practice in rapid sketching from any object he pleases, if it be 
free from polish on its surface, for reflections are sure to be 
too much for beginners. If he must make experiments with 
colour, we recommend him to take a series of shells, or wild 



DRAWING FROM CASTS. 165 

flowers of simple form ; or a spray of not more than three 
leaves, or a green apple. He should at all events imitate one 
of Green's sheets of mixed tints from three colours (procurable 
at Rowney's, Rathbone Place) and practise Rowney's sepia 
lessons. 

It must be remembered that it is much easier to draw a 
small cast than a large one ; as the eye measures the relative 
distances with greater ease and precision. It would be a 
capital exercise to repeat each of the full-length casts given 
below, drawing them first at about eighteen inches from a 
small cast, then at a large size from the full size one. 



[The casts here recommended are all used in our 
Art Schools, and are procurable at Brucciani's in Long 
Acre.] 

a. Cast of apple, orange, or pomegranate, to be drawn 

correctly in outline, by means of straight lines, 
and then rounded and finished in sepia or 
chalk. 

b. Casts of various shells : rather more complicated 

shades with crossing lines. Sepia or chalk. 

c. Blackberries and leaves (cast), for intricacy. 

d. Cast of arm or leg. 

e. Same ecorche ; muscles exposed. (Names to be 

learnt by heart.) 

f. g. Hand and foot. 

/i, i. Hand and foot ; muscles exposed. (Names as 

above.) 

j. Face of a cast 1 . 
k* Human skeleton from the flat (see photograph No. i). 

(Bones to be learnt by heart.) 
/. Human figure from the flat ; muscles exposed (to be 

named and learnt by heart). Photograph 2, 

front muscles : and woodcut of back muscles. 
m. Human figure from cast, full length : various. 

1 A list of statues is given at p. 237. The face of one or more of them should 
be studied as a preliminary exercise in measuring, before the whole form is drawn. 
The hands and feet are drawn with correct anatomical detail in our photographs. 



1 66 CHALK SHADING. 

In a practical way, much perspective is learnt by care in 
anatomy, in the widest sense of that term. Perspective deals, 
as we said, with negative information. It will not teach us 
what hills are like, or trees, or limbs ; but it will tell us what 
is the error in a drawing of any of them which, as we say, 
' looks wrong ' inexplicably. One may say, that a master of 
anatomy is very unlikely ever to go wrong in his perspective. 
Again, even in wide landscape, you should remember that 
clouds are wide floating surfaces, and that their shape is 
much more a question of perspective than you think. . Again, 
remember that correct drawing of the solid angles of rocks 
will give unmistakeable solidity to your picture, and that 
arranging angle against angle and edge beyond edge along 
a hill-side will give a power of distance to a small work 
which cannot be got in any other way. Besides, the whole 
character of tree-trunks depends virtually on perspective of 
their muscular strength or pliancy. 

We must now take up the various processes of shading. 

PRACTICE IN CHALK SHADING. 

The rules for pen-and-ink shading which have been given 
in Chapter I apply to chalk drawing, and indeed to stippling 
with the brush. Water-colour drawings are now often labori- 
ously finished in this way, and by cross-hatchings of different 
colours, which produce a pleasing effect when in their place. 
It seems more appropriate, however, to use these artifices of 
high finish in still-life drawings and small studies, like those 
of the late W. Hunt, than in the higher and wilder landscape, 
where character is everything. Texture, after all, ought only 
to be aimed at as a means of expression. Painting pictures 
up to exhibition-pitch is hardly work for a student. But 
whether we are to aim habitually at the soft play of light and 
shade which stippling gives us or not, it is quite necessary 
to be able to produce it. In colours, we shall take the subject 
up again at length, but a certain skill is to be learnt by chalk 
drawing, and still more by using the fine pencil and pen and 
ink. Patience and a sharp eye are necessary to success ; 
and we put the virtue before the faculty, because patiently 








..,.,,., 



CHALK SHADING. 167 

repeated practice, with attention, educates and quickens the 
eye, in almost every instance, to a wonderful extent. A little 
practice of the kind we have partly described and are now 
going on with, will be of the greatest use to a water-colour 
sketcher who is only accustomed to washing in sketches 
without really strict form. We do not ask him at once to 
give up his colours or his bold style, we only suggest that he 
had better gain a little real command of form, acute judg- 
ment in light and shade, and ability to draw correct lines : 
it will not diminish his boldness, but only put reason into it. 
The fact is, fine and subtle gradation in chalk is everything 
though it may, we think, be learnt with the brush and 
sepia, and though we are not inclined to postpone their use. 
In the first place, draw in your outline correctly : a paper 
cylinder is the easiest and best object to begin with, then an 
egg, or a jam-pot is best of all : but we choose the next step in 
advance an apple or pomegranate (see illustrations). Get a 
really correct outline of the natural size. Then observe three 
things: i. Where the high light is, or where the object is 
brightest. 2. Where the darkest shade on the light-coloured 
object (you are supposed to be drawing from a plaster cast) 
meets the dark projected shadow on the table where it stands. 
3. The irregular line or something like a line of shadow 
across the object, where its roughnesses first interrupt the 
rays of light, or its smooth curves of form first sink away 
out of their reach. Mark all these lightly on your drawing. 
Then cover the whole space within the shadow-line with an 
even tint : first by straight lines one way, then by others 
intersecting them at a very acute angle, as in the chalk 
drawing of the pomegranate. Three or four sets of lines 
crossing each other, if steadily drawn, will bring the whole 
to a rough evenness of tint, ready for stippling. In order 
to draw the lines evenly it will be best to cut the chalk 
to a long smooth point, to hold it long, and to draw the 
parallel lines rather with the side than with the point, 
resting your hand on the table, or, rather, sliding it along 
the paper at every stroke. The chalk, like charcoal and 
all broad and soft-pointed tools, should be held like a foil 
or stick, with the thumb uppermost. 



1 68 FLAT SHADING. STIPPLING. 

Your object is now to get a quite even flat tint all over 
the shadow-space of your apple. You are not to attend to 
either roundness or texture yet ; and, in fact, will be dis- 
tracted and fail altogether in your work if you attempt more 
than one thing at a time in it. Your crossed lines are now 
to be stippled flat. To this end first cut your chalk to a 
very sharp point and fill up all the holes left between the 
crossed lines ; either using the point itself, or, whenever it is 
possible, delicate lines. Next roll a piece of bread between 
your fingers nto a sort of doughy cylinder, with a point like 
a pencil's ; and with that remove all the dark spots and 
crumbs of chalk from your work. Alternate use of the 
chalk-point and bread-point will soon improve the look of 
your drawing ; and you must then draw back from it, and 
observe carefully the lighter and darker spaces which you 
will still detect on it. Bring them even, with fine lines and 
careful filling-up of interstices ; and as you proceed with 
the surface of your pomegranate, take up its dark projected 
shadow at intervals, and treat it in the same way, noticing 
that its extreme dark does not extend far over it, and ob- 
taining some degree of gradation. You will at once notice 
the roundness and projection which this dark shadow will 
give your work ; and enough of both will be probably 
attained, when the form drawn has been softened towards 
its lower edge, so as to melt into the shade. (In oil 
painting you would mix the two tints and so obtain re- 
flected colour.) We say your drawing will now be round 
enough, for this reason ; that it is a common fault of 
beginners to try to obtain roundness, and even texture, a 
great deal too early in their work ; and consequently to begin 
to gradate their shadows too soon, instead of giving their 
whole attention at first to getting a good flat tint of shadow. 
This must be obtained first according to our directions ; and 
as soon as it is obtained the shade should be reinforced and 
darkened, not so much towards the projected shade, but nearest 
the light. Odd as this may sound, it is right ; simply because 
the shadow of any object is darkest just where it first inter- 
cepts the light. We have just noticed this with the dark 
projected shadow it is visibly gradated from the object 



TEXTURE. 169 

which casts it. It is just the same with the roughnesses or 
projecting form of your pomegranate : their shadows on the 
white cast are strongest at their origin. So darken your 
shade up to the light, with full confidence that the projected 
shadow, and outline rounded and softened off into it, will 
make your drawing project 'till it looks as if it could be 
taken up.' Not that that, to a real painter, is an object ; for 
when you get your fruit into a picture which contains more 
interesting objects, you want your spectator to think about 
them, and not about taking up apples unless your subject 
be Eve or Atalanta. As a single study and exercise in 
projection, you may of course make it as round as you can 
without sacrificing truths of light and shade. 

You have now to take up the light side of your drawing. 
This for the first time requires you to attend to texture : for 
it is between the main shade and main light that texture is 
most noticeable ; of course, because all projections in that 
part of the object cast characteristic shadows of their own 
and display their form. Tree-trunks in light are capital 
examples of this. For beginners, in most instances, it will 
be best to let shade have its full prevalence over detail or 
texture ; very slight touches with the point of the chalk will 
do all that can rightly be done ; and if the roughness of the 
rind be well given at the junction of the shade and light, and 
delicately indicated in the light, the eye will have no difficulty 
in taking it for granted in the shade. 

A half-tint may be scratched in in lines behind the drawing 
when finished : it is sometimes well to cover the whole paper 
with it, particularly when you are using the brush and sepia. 



GENERAL REMARKS ON DRAWING IN LIGHT 
AND SHADE. 

The exercises which the pupil has gone through in pen- 
and-ink shading will soon give him workmanlike correctness 
in drawing with chalk or charcoal. There is this difference 
in their use, that as chalk will cut to a fine point, one 
generally uses the point of the tool in drawing lines or filling 



1 70 ECONOMY OF SHADE. 

up spaces. Charcoal ought to be cut to an edge, and rather 
dragged along the paper or canvas, than thrust against it. 
Both chalk and charcoal must be used with the whole hand, 
playing freely from the shoulder 1 . The pencil should be 
held like a foil or single-stick, with the thumb as its principal 
guide. A little practice on a black board or a wall will soon 
give all the necessary confidence and accuracy. A mahl-stick 
should be used, but occasional practice without it is desirable. 
It is better to draw forms without, and fill up and lay on 
shade in lines with its assistance. 

It is of importance in drawing a round object, as, for ex- 
ample, an apple or an orange, to express its form with a 
certain economy of darkness in your shade. All the great 
colourists seem to have found this necessary, for fear of 
sacrificing the brightness or mutual relation of their tints 
to mere projection of form. Nothing is really gained by 
making a figure look as if he was walking out of the 
picture ; he ought to look as if he was doing or suffering 
something in the picture, and not out of it. We here 
consider smaller objects, as fruits, &c., in the light of pre- 
paratory exercises for more important works. We begin of 
course by learning to make our apple look round ; and 
we advance to making it look round as an apple looks, 
that is to say, we advance to representing it at its proper 
pitch of colour as an object reflecting light, and also in proper 
relation to other objects in a picture. The fact is, that fine 
gradation in light and shade suggests colour 2 , whereas over- 
expenditure of darkness suggests charcoal only. The per- 
fection of sepia drawing is that the spectator shall forget the 
unpleasant brown-grey of the sepia, and look on the work as 
simple light and shade. Now, crafty and gradual progress 
from light to shade will make this possible for him, and will 
accordingly be a good test of the excellence of the work. 
The following extracts from ' Modern Painters,' vol. iv. pt. iii., 
will explain this in some measure. The whole chapter ought 
to be carefully studied, but an analysis of part of it seems 
expedient here. 

1 We repeat our caution to keep your eye at least two feet from your work. 

2 Our drawing of an apple in light and shade should be compared very carefully 
with that in colour. 



SCALES OF LIGHT AND SHADE. 171 

It begins by making the reader understand the difference 
between whiteness and brightness, or actual reflected light. 
The highest light in a picture is white paint or paper in 
shade; for no picture can be properly seen with the sun's 
light shining upon it. Now if a piece of the whitest paper 
he held upright near a window whose light (not sunshine) 
falls sideways upon it, it is in the fullest light in which it can 
possibly be seen when it has a picture painted on it ; and 
being in the fullest light, it is as white as possible. Yet if it 
be held out of window against clear sky, it at once appears 
and is much darker than the blue sky, and infinitely darker 
than bright clouds, which are white against that blue. This 
shews the smallness of the range of the lights and darks 
which can be used in painting, and the comparative whiteness 
of white paper and illuminated cloud is calculated at about 
10 and 40 ; the azure light of clear sky being represented by 
about 20. The various systems by which the greatest amount 
of truth in light, shade, and colour has been obtained with 
such inadequate means are then classified and explained as 
follows : ' Suppose the utmost light you wish to imitate be 
that of serene feebly-lighted clouds in ordinary sky : not 
sun or stars, which it is impossible deceptively to imitate 
in painting by any artifice. Then, suppose the degrees of 
shadow between those clouds and Nature's utmost darkness 
accurately measured, and divided into 100 degrees, darkness 
being zero. Next we measure our own scale, calling our 
utmost possible black zero l ; and we shall be able to keep 
parallel with Nature, perhaps up as far as her 40 degrees : all 
above that being whiter than our white paper. Well, with 
our power of contrast between zero and 40, we have to imitate 
her contrasts between zero and 100. Now if we want true 
contrasts, we can first set our 40 to represent her 100, our 20 
for her 80, and our zero for her 60 : everything below her 60 
being lost in blackness. This is, with certain modifications, 
Rembrandt's system. Or, secondly, we can put zero for her 
zero, 20 for her 20, and 40 for her 40 ; everything above 40 
being lost in whiteness. This is, with certain modifications, 

1 Even here we shall be defeated by Nature, her utmost darkness being deeper 
than ours. See Part II, sect. ii. ch. i. 4-7, &c. 



ij2 SCALES OF LIGHT AND SHADE. 

Paul Veronese's system. Or, finally, we can put our zero for 
her zero, and our 40 for her 100, our 20 for her 50, our 30 for 
her 75, and our 10 for her 25 ; proportioning our intermediate 
contrasts accordingly. This is, with certain modifications, 
Turner's system ; the modifications in each case being the 
adoption, to a certain extent, of either of the other systems. 
Thus, Turner inclines to Paul Veronese ; liking, as far as 
possible, to get his hues perfectly true up to a certain point ; 
that is to say, to let his zero stand for Nature's zero, and his 
10 for her 10, and his 20 for her 20; and then to expand 
towards the light by quick but cunning steps, putting 27 for 
50, 30 for 70, and reserving some force still for the last 90 to 
100. So Rembrandt modifies his system on the other side, 
putting his 40 for 100, his 30 for 90, his 20 for 80 ; then going 
subtly downwards, 10 for 50, 5 for 30 nearly everything 
between 30 and zero being lost in gloom, yet still so as to 
reserve his zero for zero. The systems expressed in tabular 
form will stand thus : 

Nature. Rembrandt. Turner. Veronese, 

o o o o 

10 I IO IO 

20 3 20 20 

30 5 24 30 

4 7 26 3 2 

50 10 27 34 

60 13 28 36 

7> 17 3 37 

80 20 32 38 

90 30 36 39 

100 40 40 40 

It is clear that, on Rembrandt's system, while the contrasts are 
not more right than on Veronese's, the colours are all wrong 
from beginning to end. With Turner and Veronese, Nature's 
10 is their 10, and Nature's 20 is their 20, enabling them to 
give pure truth of colour up to a certain point. But with 
Rembrandt not one colour is absolutely true, from one side of 
the scale to the other ; only the contrasts are true at the top 
of the scale. Of course, this supposes Rembrandt's system 
applied to a subject which shall try it to the utmost, such as 
landscape. He generally chose subjects in which the real 
colours were very nearly imitable as portraits or figures with 



p 





<5 
W 



. 
. 

c! 






CAST SHADOW. 173 

dark backgrounds, in which Nature's highest light was a little 
above his own : her 40 being then truly represented by his 
40, his picture became nearly an absolute truth. But his 
system is only right when applied to such subjects ; clearly, 
when we have the full scale of natural light to deal with, 
Turner's and Veronese's convey the greatest sum of truth.' 

Professor Ruskin's example is a line-engraving of three 
cylindrical columns of white marble, with a black inlaid pattern 
at their bases. A similar plate would have added far too 
much to the price of this book. But Mr. Macdonald's skill 
has supplied me with a very beautiful drawing in light 
and shade, of an apple corresponding to the beautiful ' Blen- 
heim Orange,' for which, in chromograph, my readers have to 
thank the Professor. Either picture is fully sufficient as an ex- 
ample of chiaroscuro, or finished colour, to the student. The 
light and shade apple is on Turner's system : the high light is 
distinct enough, but shade is economized, and the darkest 
parts of the shade are kept pale. It will be seen that the 
Rembrandtesque (or Lionardesque) method of expressing 
roundness to the full extent of darkness is excellent for study 
of parts, or single objects in light and shade only, with a view 
to obtaining as much form as possible ; but that it is dis- 
tinctly inferior to Turner's, in which the form modelled in light 
and shade is considered as an accurate translation of colour, 
and to form part of a regular picture. Moreover as far as 
possible a correct rendering of every hue is given in tint ; that 
is to say, all the colours are rendered in exactly equiva- 
lent depth of shade. What has been said already of the 
importance of getting a flat surface of shade in drawing a 
rounded object like a lemon or pomegranate, is quite in 
accordance with this ; and so are the remarks about rein- 
forcing the shade near to the light, since the darkest shade on 
the surface of an object will always be thrown by those 
irregularities of the surface which first meet the light. The 
shadow cast by the whole object itself on the plane on which it 
rests is of course more dark and solid 1 . It is a different 

1 This of course depends on the colours of the plane of the object. If the 
object itself be much darker in colour than the surface on which its shadow falls, 
the part of the object in shadow will be lighter than that shadow. 



174 USE OF THE BRUSH. 

matter altogether, as has been said, either from the natural 
light and shade belonging to the structure of the object, or 
again from accidental shadows cast upon it by other things. 
In our Discobolus, for example, the shadows which give 
roundness to the muscles, and those on the left sides of all the 
limbs, are the natural light and shade of the figure ; the 
discus would cast a shadow upon the figure if the light were 
the other way ; and if it were part of a picture involving 
sunlight, the figure itself would cast a long shadow to the 
right or left, which would be distinct from the other two. 

The Rafael and Michael Angelo drawings in the Gallery at 
Oxford are wonderfully instructive as to the completeness of 
form which may be obtained by subtlety of gradation without 
violence of gradation. Whole groups are drawn in perfect 
roundness and relief, in which the scale of darkness begins 
with dim white, and does not sink below a grey half-tint. 

As has been said, we are in favour of our pupil's being 
allowed to use the brush, instead of the crayon, in his light- 
and-shade studies, as soon as he can appreciate the greater 
power and subtlety it will give him. It will be for a master 
to judge of the proper time ; we think it should come as 
early as possible, because it is with the water-colour brush in 
particular that the habit of drawing forms with both edges of 
the tool is learnt, as well as that of giving every touch its 
planned and considered shape. We must return to this 
subject hereafter. 



CHAPTER III. 

USE OF WATER-COLOURS. INTRODUCTORY. 

IT is hardly necessary, for the purposes of this book, to 
speak of the comparative importance of water-colour 
drawing and of oil-painting. Both vehicles have advantages 
of their own ; but it cannot be disputed that the balance of 
power inclines in favour of the latter, so that a master of oil- 
painting can do more, and in a more forcible way, than a 
man who is his equal in power, and who uses water-colour 
alone. Still, some of the most thoughtful and beautiful works 
in modern Art are in water-colour : and that not only in pure 
or mixed landscape, as in Turner's Goldau and S. Gothard 
but in poetical or historical figure-subject of the highest aim. 
It would not be easy to find pictures of greater power of 
thought and poetry than Mr. Burne Jones's S. Dorothy ; The 
Winepress, and The Mill, by Mr. Spencer Stanhope ; or than 
Mr. Lewis's Sinai. Yet the last-named painter repeated his 
great work in oil ; and though few, perhaps, of its spectators 
preferred the second edition on canvas to the first on paper, it 
had the advantage of undoubted permanency, which is 
certainly in favour of oils. At the same time, care and good 
air-tight frames and protection from bright light will preserve 
the most delicate water-colour for an indefinite time ; and a 
water-colourist has a right to expect that his works will be 
tenderly handled. Pictures are not set up like iron targets, to 
stand the utmost amount of battering. It may perhaps be 
questioned whether oil-paintings are not subject to special 
perils by cleaning and restoration. But, however this may be, 
the practice of water-colour first claims our attention in this 
book, as an easier means of teaching or of self-instruction than 
that of oils. 



1 76 COPYING. 

When you have gained a certain proficiency in drawing 
from the cast and in the studio, you have to proceed to work 
from Nature. That is to say, you will either go into the life- 
school, and pursue its various studies of the human form, 
draped or undraped, or you will begin with landscape : or take 
up a course of studies of coloured objects at home, to acquire 
knowledge and power in near and local colour. If you really 
mean to make all possible progress, you certainly must not 
relinquish the study of the human form. But in so small a 
work as this, you must be treated for the present as a fairly 
disciplined draughtsman, educated up to landscape point ; 
capable of making a workmanlike sketch or drawing in sepia, 
and of putting fairly well-drawn figures into it when you think 
fit. The subject of sketching from Nature is taken up further 
on. A little copying to learn a moderate scale of landscape 
hues will now be advisable. Of course if you have hitherto 
manfully adhered to the free-hand curves, and drawing from 
the cast, and to that only, a few copies in sepia from the 
' Liber Studiorum,' or from photographs, will now be neces- 
sary. Mountain photographs are always to be had : choose, 
if possible, some scene you know ; or take up some of Mr. 
Hatton's trees in sepia. The ' Liber Studiorum ' will teach 
you form and composition ; and its plates are accessible, at a 
reduced size, in photographs, published by Mr. Hogarth, of 
Mount Street 1 . Having done one or two of these on an 
enlarged scale (first in bold ink outlines, then in sepia light 
and shade), take up one of Rowney's three-colour lessons in 
landscape, which will give you a certain scale of greys, greens, 
and yellows. You ought not to be confused with too many 
'pigments' (the use of this truly disgusting term is com- 
pulsory) but you ought to be allowed any greys or yellows 
you fancy, always remembering not to indulge in too much 
rose-madder, so as to make the greys too purple in your 
distances ; as young landscapists always do, if they can. 
Suppose, then, you add the following colours to Rowney's 
three (i. e. raw sienna, indigo, and sepia) : 



1 The autotype edition, by the Company, 36, Rathbone Place, is now to be 
obtained at a moderate price, and is highly preferable to any other. 



PIGMENTS. 177 

Brown madder, excellent with cobalt, in distance, for cloud, 

or calm shades, mountains, &c. 

in middle distance, with raw sienna, and 

cobalt or indigo, for yellow and green 
greys. 
very powerful in foreground for sharp points 

of shade : with Vandyke brown. 

Cobalt, excellent in almost all mixtures : too raw 

for skies, unless mixed with white or a 
little yellow ochre. 
Light red, all storm-greys contain it, mixed with cobalt 

or black, or both. 

Burnt sienna, rich yellow-brown, autumnal or warm greens, 
with gamboge and a little Prussian 
blue. 

Rose madder, pure greys and purples, with cobalt. 
Gamboge, transparent yellows and emerald green. 

Yellow ochre, semi-transparent yellows (and with Emerald 
green for spring foliage) : also in stone t greys. 
These, with black and Vandyke brown, lake to deepen browns 
and purples and for force, and Chinese white to mix in 
distance-blues, will do very well to begin with. Emerald 
green requires special care, as it is charming when well kept 
down, and thoroughly agonizing when abused. But spring 
greens are not to be obtained without it. I am personally 
very partial to yellow and scarlet madder, but they can be 
dispensed with. You should use a colour if you really like it, 
but still with moderation l . 

If you like to begin colour with a series of shells, or of wild 
flowers, it is perhaps the best thing you can do. A judicious 
master will direct you in the matter ; or your decision may 
depend on the time of year. You cannot well go out for real 
open-air drawing in winter, late autumn, or early spring, at 
least not systematically. In summer, you had better begin to 
make water-colours while the sun shines, out of doors. 

And before you begin to lay colours on, pay attention to 
the following remarks on them, which, if remembered and 

1 Turner's frequent use of vermilion makes it a desirable addition, but it loses 
brilliancy when mixed with white. 

N 



1 78 THEORY. 

carried out, will have more effect on your progress in Art than 
you can at present think possible. 

THEORY OF WATER-COLOURS. 

When pigments are spread upon a surface, their effect of 
colour and impression on the eye are produced in one of two 
ways, according to the mechanical nature of the substance 
of the pigment It is either opaque and solid, or it is trans- 
parent. In the former case, the light which falls on the 
paper, or part of it, is reflected from the surface of the colour 
laid on, not at all from that of the paper : the light does not 
reach the paper through the solid surface of colour any more 
than through a plate of metal. The colour shines for itself, 
and has a fixed place in the scale of light and dark ; nor can 
you darken it by increasing its quantity, but only by mixing 
it with some darker hue. It is, on the paper, either lighter or 
darker than its surroundings, and will not be made any 
darker by more of it being put on. This is what is meant 
by body-colour. 

In the use of transparent colours, a thin film or layer of 
colour is interposed between the white surface and the eye : 
and the colour we see is the result produced by white light 
passing through this film or coat. The effect is of the same 
nature as that which would be produced by laying a very 
thin plate of stained glass on the white surface. Then, if 
another plate of glass were laid over the first, the strength of 
the colour would be increased, but it would also be made 
darker in pitch of shade ; and if this were continued, the 
colour would first reach its maximum of intensity as regards 
hue 1 , and would afterwards grow darker and darker in shade. 
For the light would have to pass twice through the successive 
layers of colour ; first to reach the white paper, then back 
to the eye to produce on it the effect of the white paper 
plus the colour spread upon it. This is the difference between 
transparent and body-colour, turning on the effect of surface 

1 The word 'hue' always refers to variation of colour; the word 'tint' to 
variation in depth of shade. There are many different tints in a sepia drawing, 
but no hues. 



OPAQUE AND TRANSPARENT COLOUR. 179 

through the colour. Of course washes of colour are not 
exactly like plates of stained glass : in the first place, any 
number of the latter may be laid one over the other, while 
it is impossible to lay on more than a certain number of 
coats of colour without disturbing the under surface ; in the 
second, the colour comes thoroughly into contact with the 
paper, and is incorporated with it ; so that owing to the 
texture of the paper, which as it were backs the colour 
closely up, a certain amount of white light is reflected back 
to the eye from the hue without reaching the paper (as if 
the hue had been opaque). This white light necessarily 
makes the colour appear less pure. Again, very few pig- 
ments are completely transparent ; and, in practice, opaque 
colours are often put on in thin washes to produce certain 
effects, the peculiarity of which depends on the greater or 
smaller quantity of white light reflected from their surfaces, 
when they have been laid on the paper. 

Painting in fresco and tempera, as at present practised, is 
necessarily body-colour work. It is stated by Mr. Crowe 
that Masaccio used many warm transparent glazings in the 
frescoes of the Carmine. They seem, however, to have been 
swept smoothly on, over designs already modelled in solid 
light and shade to great completeness : and he is said, again, 
to have put his high lights upon them in body-colour, as in 
oil-painting. However it may be, oil-painting combines both 
solid and transparent work ; while water-colour, as we under- 
stand it here, is essentially work done with transparent 
colours. It is not that body-colour is excluded, but the 
principle of operation ; at least by far the best principle 
for those who are entering on the very considerable diffi- 
culties of the work seems to be as follows. You start with 
a completely white surface reflecting a certain amount of 
light and no more. That amount of light and no more is 
all you can have for your picture ; at present it is a blank 
of high light. So you proceed to obscure it in certain parts 
by laying on patches or coats of colour, and to carve your 
picture out, working from light to dark. The lightest green 
goes on the trees first, then they are rounded and modelled 
with darker tints ; and so with the stone-greys or browns. 

N 2 



i8o WASHING DOWN. 

Throughout you use the white of the paper for light, and lay 
on colour in others, hiding the light so as to give shade, 
and working from light to dark, by putting on darker and 
darker patches in as definite forms as possible. 

This process in its perfection implies the use of transparent 
colour; and it is clearly the most straightforward way of 
going to work, to lay on the light tints first all over, then 
the darker ones, one after the other, according to their de- 
gree of strength or darkness, each of them covering a less 
space, and leaving the lights. The edges of these coats or 
patches, if delicately and well shaped and rapidly put on, 
are one of the especial beauties of water-colour : and nothing 
but the mind and hand of the able workman can give them. 
I should think most people who look at the frontispiece of 
this book will consider it a fair chromograph of a very 
charming little water-colour. And I wish that, as an illus- 
tration of my meaning, they could see the original (by Mr. 
Macdonald, who is also in fact the author of these in- 
structions in water-colour). For it must be confessed that, 
to an instructed eye, the chromograph is necessarily far 
inferior to it, for want of keen edges and sharp touches. It 
is richer in colour, however ; and any one conversant with 
the matter (i.e. who knows what it is to have a favourite 
drawing of his own rendered in chromograph by strange 
hands) will consider that the authors and readers of this 
book are greatly indebted to Mr. Vincent Brookes. Here, 
however, is a good place to introduce a remark which I must 
reiterate continually, that the great use of water-colour prac- 
tice is to teach a man to put on every touch in a planned 
form, at least all through the constructive part of his picture. 
Glazings and scumblings in oil-colour are allowed of course 
they are the privilege of the oil-painter. Washing down with 
clear water, in water-colour, is also admissible ; it cannot of 
course take the place of drawing, but it often produces 
pleasant effects of texture in an easy way ; and there is no 
harm in it any more than in the oil-scumble, unless it be used 
to disguise bad drawing. But washing out is not drawing in 
rightly, and the latter is what I want my student to attend 
to. And the first and last habit of the water-colour painter 



DARK OVER LIGHT. 181 

is to be always cutting out forms with his double-edged, or 
rather many-edged, brush. Use a long red cutting sable ; 
large or small, let it be always long-haired and hold rather 
by little brushes than big ones. And remember that every 
touch put on is as a word in a sentence, or a sentence in 
a speech, and that nonsense-drawing is nearly, though not 
quite, as bad as rhetorical verbiage. Character, vigour, and 
meaning of expression these are the things which make 
drawing a pursuit worthy of a man. They cannot be taught 
him like shading or perspective ; but he can teach himself 
to store his memory with form by continual attention to 
form, so that his brush always moves to express an idea, 
or a part of an idea ; and when he has begun to work in 
that way habitually, he may well hope that something will 
come of it. 

Now the system of laying the dark tint over the light 
conduces especially to precision in the forms of the light 
portions : a matter, as we say, of the greatest importance 
in foreground work. Suppose you have to represent the 
figure here given in four washes of colour, and to shew the 




Fig. 2. 

separate portions as clearly as possible. Cover the whole 
with a wash of the strength of the tint between I and 2. 
When that is dry, lay on one a little darker from a to the 
end ; a third from 3 ; and lastly, the darkest one at 4. By 
this means each portion will be clearly and distinctly marked 
off from the others. If the darkest shade were put on first 
and the three others worked over it, it would run over the 
edge into the next space, destroying the evenness of the tint 
and the clearness of the line of separation. There is not the 
same danger where the lighter tints come first : the only 
effect of the successive washes may be to make the boundary 
lines a little softer. This is often desirable ; and the method 
is followed in cases to be hereafter referred to. 



182 GRADATION. 

As the sky and distance are generally the lightest part 
of the work, it will be best in general to begin with them. 
For reasons stated in our chapter on Light and Shade 
Drawing, that all clear skies must be in some degree 
conventionalized, because we have not, like Nature, un- 
limited command of brightness of light and depth of 
shade. If you were to try to preserve the apparent re- 
lations between the light and dark of clouds and clear 
sky among themselves, and then to go on with the 
proper contrasts in shade between the sky and the rest 
of the landscape, and the various parts of the landscape 
with each other, you would find yourself reduced to the 
blackness of darkness before you had got the shades even 
of the lightest part of the foreground. So the darker parts 
of the cloud must be kept as light as is possible consistently 
with a fair amount of cloud-form. You will see at the 
very beginning how much roundness, relief, and definite 
shape can be given by delicacy of gradation, using almost 
no intensity of shadow, i. e. no strength of colour repre- 
senting shadow. And here, as elsewhere, the landscape 
artist who has submitted to proper training will feel the 
advantages of knowing the grammar of Art, and possessing 
a practical knowledge of gradation. 

It is a common practice to paint sky and clouds in colour 
rather stronger than you intend them to appear, and then 
to remove a portion of the colour, after it is thoroughly dry, 
by washing it with clean water. If this is successfully done, 
that is to say, if an equal proportion of colour is removed, 
over the whole work, the effect is to make the whole sky 
lighter, without losing the clearness and distinctness of the 
forms of cloud and shadow. Some artists even use pow- 
dered pumice-stone with the same view : and in either way 
a ' quality ' is often obtained which is valuable in skies and 
distances. A granulated effect is produced by the colour 
being partly removed from the upper surface of the paper : 
for all paper used for large-size works in water-colour has 
a more or less rough texture of surface, which is called 
its grain. When a tint of colour has been laid on, well 
dried, and then washed with a large flat brush or sponge> 



TEXTURE OF PAPER. 183 

a portion of colour is removed from the little projections 
of the paper, while all remains nearly untouched in its 
hollows. Consequently, instead of a thin coat of perfectly 
even colour, you have a tint spread over the paper which is 
composed of numberless small spots of lighter or darker 
colour, so close together and so uniform in shade as to give 
the same effect of evenness, with variety of delicate light, 
which is produced by fine stippling. This tint expresses 
distance better than a perfectly even coat on a smooth sur- 
face. Even the roughness of the paper, without washing, 
will produce this effect in some degree ; as the depressions 
of the surface give minute points of shade and its projections 
of light : so that the flat tint is broken and distance obtained. 
The question of using rough or smooth paper requires a little 
notice here. Rough paper is like any other rather good 
thing, it is easy to abuse it and make it harmful instead of 
useful. As we have said, there is a reason, and a good one, 
for using moderately rough paper, for painting in one's clouds 
and skies firmly, and then for washing them down to obtain 
air and delicacy. But you must draw your clouds and skies 
first, or gradate your flat sky if there be no clouds. And 
where you are using sunset colours, I cannot think washing 
advisable, because however clean your water may be, it must 
take away the purity of the pinks and yellows as first laid 
on, if they are washed over along with the blues and purples. 
The blues or purples must always be laid on first, and the 
yellows over them. Setting this aside, and making the rule 
to do our sunsets in W. Turner's way 1 (see chap, i, part ii.), we 
will agree to wash over our cloud-forms when drawn : but drawn 
they must be. Good forms half washed out are better than 
they were before. So indeed are bad ones : but then the 
further course of treatment is different, because the good ones 
may be left to stand perhaps for centuries, and the bad ones 
ought only to be further improved by washing till they dis- 
appear altogether and you have the paper to try again on. 
If you have an error or a mess anywhere, wash it right out, 
and all that is in its immediate neighbourhood, down to the 

1 Or it may be better for beginners to reverse it, beginning with pure water 
and adding colour from another saucer or palette. 



1 84 DRAWING VERSUS WASHING. 

paper : but do not try to obtain chance effects, by washing 
two or three madders, cobalt, yellow ochre, and light red, 
already mixed in greys, into a kind of puree over your care- 
fully drawn lines. Accidental effects and successes are a 
nuisance to be avoided by every student ; they only tempt 
him to forget the purpose of his work, the thought he started 
with, and the lines he drew to guide him in realizing it. 
Excitement and confusion are the curse of beginners in 
original work : and those perhaps suffer most who have 
most originality at least, who have most feeling. As you 
gain skill and precision of hand, and grow more capable of 
elaborate study from Nature, you will be less and less inclined 
to trust to these artifices, and risk their somewhat uncertain 
results. For large pictures of storm, for example, they must 
be admitted ; but students ought not to paint large pictures. 
Accuracy of form and precision of colour matched from 
Nature are far better things than tricks of texture. 

So do not wash your sky without a reason and design, or 
your distance at all. And as to paper, always use the smooth- 
est on which you can get colour to run pleasantly, without 
forming irregular edges and stains from too rapid drying. 
Yet there is a reason for the use of moderately rough paper 
by those who can be trusted to draw accurately upon it, and 
not abuse it. It is that greater brilliancy of colour may be 
obtained upon it. Every one knows that the brilliant colours 
we see in Nature (as in flowers), or in various fabrics (as 
in velvet pile), owe their richness in great measure to the 
nature of the surface which reflects them. The petals of a 
flower are composed, like velvet, of small filaments placed 
close together, each of which has a light side and a dark 
side. Now, purity of colour is destroyed equally by too 
much light and too little ; (in any round coloured object 
on which light falls, the purest points of colour are some- 
where between the light and the shade). Therefore there 
will be a high light, a dark side, and a part which shews 
the true and perfect colour, on every filament of the velvet 
and on every little projection of the paper, and, from the 
form of the projections, a particle of pure colour will be 
sent from each to the eye in any position. Now, a coloured 



AERIAL PERSPECTIVE. 185 

surface which is perfectly smooth depends entirely on the 
angle of its light, and only a few of the rays which are most 
favourable to the colour reach the eye in any one position. 
The eminences of the rougher paper each reflect you a ray of 
the colour at its best, and consequently you get more perfect 
colour in the same space : though at the same time there 
is a greater absorption of light 1 . 

To return to our skies and distances. It will be understood 
that all colours must be greatly changed by distance from the 
eye. Great part, if not the whole, of the subject of aerial 
perspective is involved in these changes of colour : and their 
various causes cannot be inquired into here. It is enough to 
say that from refraction, which increases according to the 
quantity of moisture in the air, and often from the presence of 
more or less visible water vapour, all colours in distance are 
in a certain degree discharged, and made to blend together into 
a nearly uniform tint of bluish-grey. As has been hinted in 
Part I, in the chapter on the works of Masaccio, the term 
' Aerial Perspective ' is somewhat undefined, and may mean 
anything, from the effect of projection which is caused by our 
naturally binocular or stereoscopic view of objects, to the 
partial or entire evanescence of a mountain-scene behind 
rising mist or stooping thunder-cloud. In fact, it is a matter 
of colour or of the use of white with other hues, practically 
speaking ; and in a book like this, mainly consisting of rules, 
we can only speak of linear perspective ; because it only is 
reducible to rule. There is no telling anybody how blue or 
how dim a distance may look : nor is it easy to say how many 
different causes may produce what are called effects of aerial 
perspective in different parts of the world. I have seen mist 
drawn up, exactly like a curtain, displaying the whole valley 
of the Rhone, from the top of the pass above Martigny ; and 
have had, for ten minutes, a sudden vision, from the slopes of 
the Faulhorn, of the whole Lower Glacier of Griindlwald. I 
have seen the Mount of Deliverance, and all the Desert round 
the Gulf of Suez, reeling with mirage and dim with excess of 
light. Everybody has seen English fogs and thunder-storms ; 

1 There is a very good paper now in use, called ' Whatman s not hot pressed ' 
(shortened to 'Whatman's Not'). 



1 86 LINEAR PERSPECTIVE. 

and every sketcher at least will know the way in which all the 
usual conditions of warm and cold greys are inverted, when 
the sun shines powerfully on a heavy bank of rain-clouds, 
changing what was purple and black into warm brown and 
yellow. Yet all the indescribably different ways of expressing 
distance under these various lights come under aerial perspec- 
tive, so called ; while the effect of space and distance in clear 
sunsets, &c., depends greatly on there being no mist at all : 
nor can there be any in many historical pictures in which 
the foreground is everything, and no distance is introduced, as 
in Millais' Huguenot 1 . The fact is, that though expression of 
aerial distance depends greatly on obscurity or cold colour, it 
may be produced in Nature by other causes, and may there- 
fore be referred to other causes in a picture, unless it tells its 
tale ably. But distance depending on linear perspective, i. e. 
on real drawing, is unmistakeable : though it often takes a 
real draughtsman to appreciate it in a picture. However, a 
certain licence is allowed to the weakness of man, who cannot 
draw all things ; and so it happens sometimes that figures" in a 
picture, under ordinary calm daylight and not fifty yards from 
the eye, have a blue or grey medium scumbled in between them 
and the front of the scene 2 . It is theatrical and wrong : but 
it is always being done, and then its perpetrators talk about 
aerial perspective, because they either cannot draw or will not 
trust their drawing. ' Da mihi fallere,' quoth Juvenal, ' et 
fraudibus objice nubem 3 ' and if 'fraus' may rightly be 
construed 'bad drawing,' the quotation applies perfectly to 
our own highly finished pictures. The honest rule for either 
student or painter is always to aim at clearness, unless he 
wishes to call attention to obscurity, as in storm effects, which 
have a set of phenomena of their own well worth recording. 
The incident of a cloud on a hill-side may be intended to 
convey the idea of new-fallen rain rising again in ' dewy 
steam 4 ,' or of bad weather coming on : or it may be put there 
only to cover space in the first or second case the picture is 
better for it, in the other it is worse. 

1 See The Stones of Venice, vol. iii. p. 47. 

2 Hamerton, A Painter's Camp, ' On Aerial Perspective about Glencoe,' &c. 

3 ' Grant me not to be found out and hide my impostures in a mist.' 

4 Christian Year, ' Morning Hymn.' 



FIRST STAGE OF FRONTISPIECE. 187 

To take up the frontispiece in its colours. Three stages are 
given which illustrate the system on which you have been 
advised to paint ; viz. that of using transparent or semi-trans- 
parent colour, and of working from light to shade throughout. 
Look well at its First Stage, and compare that carefully with 
the finished chromograph, which you must have before you 
for that purpose all through your work. For these pages are 
an attempt at giving you such a lesson as a fairly good master 
would give you, by painting before you from Nature, and 
giving explanations as his work proceeds. The finished 
frontispiece stands for Nature : the two earlier stages repre- 
sent the advancing transcript. Neat and attentive work 
should enable you to do something nearly as good as the 
latter ; and you ought to work up to the colour of the former, 
and at last surpass it, by means of that sharpness of touch 
which nothing but educated eyes and fingers can produce. 

FIRST STAGE OF FRONTISPIECE. 

Now lay aside the finished frontispiece, take up the first 
stage, and make an outline of it, with a hard pencil, clear, fine, 
and in the lighter parts of the picture, where local colour and 
shadows are faint, scarcely perceptible. It will be better to 
make this on a scale of not less than twice the size of the actual 
plate. If your pencil lines are too strong at first, rub them 
nearly out with bread, so as not to have any black lead on the 
paper, which might spoil the purity of your colours. In the 
foreground, or where the shadows are stronger, this caution is 
of no consequence, as the colour will hide the lines. Forms of 
clouds should never be drawn with a pencil when they form 
part of a water-colour picture : but careful studies in line 
should be made of clouds only, at other times. 

Next put in the principal shadows on those objects which 
are well defined in light and shade, as the dark sides of the 
large stone and some of the others in the middle of the 
picture; also the dark foliage, leaving the rather intricate 
bright-green forms of the leaves untouched. If you have 
made a good outline, and will use a small brush, you will be 
able to do this neatly : and having once done it, you will have 



1 88 UNDER-TINT. 

made some progress in mapping out your work, and really 
know where the colours are coming so as to be able to lay 
them on quickly and confidently ; for quickness of touch is 
everything in water-colour, when correctness is once gained. 
Use cobalt and brown or rose madder (or perhaps light red) 
for these guiding shadows, and let all dry. 

This is a kind of exception to our general rule of ' dark 
over light ' but observe that the actual work of laying on 
colour is not yet begun. These grey shadows ought not to be 
dark enough materially to affect the stronger colours which 
are to come over them. They are only meant to determine 
the whereabouts of the shadows, and to save time and con- 
fusion hereafter. When you have to match the local colour, 
you ought to have form as decided and as little distracting as 
possible. 

Now pass a light tint of yellow ochre, mixed with a little 
brown madder or light red, over the whole drawing: except 
where any pure colour is to come, as in the bright yellow- 
greens in the middle, the two blackberry sprays against the 
stone on the right, and the purple heath-bells and ferns to 
right and left. Proceed thus : begin at top with clear water, 
add a very little of the tint as you descend, and increase it 
towards the bottom 1 but keep it light throughout, or your 
picture will look hot. (Of course in an Eastern subject you 
would want heat and glare, and would reverse this caution ; 
but even there you must be moderate, for fear of losing 
light.) The effect of this ought to be to bring the picture 
together in the first instance, and prevent your falling out of 
tone ; that is to say, losing the proper relative intensity of 
tint in different objects according to distance. According to 
our former definition, intensity of tint will mean the same 
thing as pitch of shade (expressed in sepia or one colour 
only) ; intensity of hue will mean purity and force of colour. 
Lemon-yellow or extract of vermilion are intense hues ; 
violet-carmine an intense tint. The strength of this warm 
ground tint, as has been already hinted, must depend on the 
warmth or coldness of the light you wish to diffuse over your 

1 See W. Turner's method, chap, i , part ii. 



FIRST COLOURS. 189 

picture : sunset is warmer than sunrise, and sunshine than the 
diffused daylight of a cloudy morning. 

There is another reason for this warm tint, which is, that 
water-colours have a tendency to dry colder than they looked 
when first put on. As the paper dries the colour clings 
closer to the surface, from which more white light is thrown 
back, so that the tints look paler and colder. But if a pure 
blue sky be required (which is very unlikely, unless you are 
representing a space between clouds after rain) the warm 
wash must not go over it. Its chief value as regards colour is 
that it keeps down or subdues all the hues except the pure 
colours, to which of course you wish to call attention. You 
will be able easily and quickly to vary its strength in 
different parts of the picture, as on the stones and dark water, 
if you have studied them carefully, so as always to know 
where they are. 

Now take up the different parts and paint the tints in the 
first stage over them in correct form, as near as you can. 

The sky is cobalt, slightly broken by the under-tint, and 
carried over the grey distance. 

The grey distance, rose madder and cobalt. Then wash 
your brush lightly ; half dry it (not in your mouth, but on 
blotting paper), and take a little more rose madder into it, 
with some yellow ochre. Lay it on the hill-side to the left, 
running a little of the grey in again at bottom and carrying 
the same over the right-hand far hill-side almost to the right 
side of the paper, leaving the ragged edge. Let dry. 

Mix a little white with all these hues. 

Next, the lower edge of moor on the left a little green at 
top (faint Prussian blue, burnt sienna, and gamboge) -, 1 brush 
half-washed, and the madder mixture run in below to form. 

Now take up the lightest stone-colour light red and 
cobalt ; best match all the tints and hues on the side of 
your copy. Run it all over the stones, dark green shade 
and water ; avoiding the two blackberry sprays on the right. 
You have them drawn in pencil go as near their lines as you 

1 Emerald green and yellow ochre will make good tints for distant and pure- 
green hills in light. With gamboge, emerald green gives the sharpest colours 
of spring foliage. 



IQO DARK OVER LIGHT. 

can, but at all events leave them clear. If your copy is twice 
or thrice the size of the frontispiece you ought to be able to 
manage this, if you have gone through proper training. You 
will soon feel the benefit of sound training in every touch : 
your brush will begin to go right of itself, as soon as your eye 
and mind are used to the forms, and your work will look always 
like a workman's. Of course even a good studio-workman will 
hesitate at landscape forms at first : the only thing is, that if he 
wishes to learn them, he will do so in a comparatively short time. 
A good Latin scholar will stick at an Italian book at first, but 
a week of dictionary will enable him to read it pretty freely. 

Where there are evidently two tints on anything, lay on 
the lightest first, according to our rule. You must be most 
careful in your forms everywhere : but where you have a 
darker tint in reserve to define them, you need not be so 
anxious about the lighter one. For instance, you next lay on 
your bright greens emerald green pure on the blackberries 
only ; emerald green and gamboge elsewhere, with here and 
there a blending of the dark warm green. Then touch the 
masses of heather-bloom, with rose madder and a little white, 
all over. As has been partly said, when it is dry you will 
be able to work out the forms by putting in the dark green 
stalks and foliage, carving the pink blossoms out, as it were, 
with the deeper colours. So with the ferns below, and with 
the bright ash saplings in the centre, and the blackberries 
below them. Finally, the dark water, when sharply put in 
with burnt sienna and a little grey or green, will give great 
effect to the stones. Lighten it a little with the brush for 
their reflections, and, if necessary, glaze over again with 
burnt sienna, or that and gamboge. 

Remember particularly that wherever light cuts against 
dark in intricate form our rule is absolute that the light 
should be correctly laid on first ; since the darker tint can 
always be used to cut out the proper shape of the lighter 
hue, though that, when first laid on, may have somewhat 
transgressed its boundaries. 

Mixing colours in the brush, as I have recommended, is a 
matter of practice. It gives natural transition of colour with 
a certain degree of truth, and determines much for the picture, 



SECOND STAGE OF FRONTISPIECE. 191 

as colours contrasting well and quickly blended into each 
other secure good effect throughout. The leading rule is, da 
not touch twice ; good, bad, or indifferent, as the case may be, 
carry your tint evenly up to the next necessary outline of 
form ; soften it off, or leave it sharp, and let it all dry before 
you alter : you will often find it dry to your satisfaction. 

SECOND STAGE OF FRONTISPIECE. 

When the ground-colours of a water-colour drawing are 
laid on, as in our first stage, the real work may be said to be 
mapped out rather than begun. At the same time, if it has been 
well thought out beforehand, if a good preliminary sketch or 
blot has been made, or if the student has studied his subject 
well enough to know what he is going to do, he may proceed 
in a methodical way, with tolerable certainty of fair success. 
It may be remarked that the intricacy and minuteness of the 
frontispiece will be of the greatest use to any one who will 
faithfully work out a copy of it, because it will prepare him 
in some degree for the difficulties of close sketching from 
Nature. Without anticipating the chapter on that subject, 
it is enough to say, that any person who has hitherto only 
drawn from models or single objects in the studio will be 
surprised and confused, in all probability, in his first attempts 
in the open air, or from a tent, or window. He has hitherto 
drawn uncompromisingly, and with the certainty of being 
able to render all he has seen before him to draw. He has 
now to realize from the first that he cannot represent all that 
meets his eye ; to effect a series of compromises between his 
own powers and the multiplicity and variety of Nature ; to 
put in this and leave out that ; to be confused by grandeur of 
general impression, and distracted by beauty of detail. The 
sharpness of eye he has acquired will, for a time, tend rather 
to his confusion, by making him see more into form : and, 
moreover, he has now to deal with subjects where change and 
motion are involved. This is why we recommended careful 
study of the frontispiece before taking up the representation 
of its first stage. We wanted the thought of the sharp-eyed 
sketcher, well trained indoors, to pass through the student's 
mind, ' How am I ever to get all that in ? ' In short, the 



1 92 FORM BY SHADO WS. 

frontispiece is the result of a tough and successful struggle 
with Nature, and its difficulties are in some degree those of 
drawing from Nature. As we have said, our studio-trained 
pupil is like a good Latin scholar beginning to read and 
speak Italian. He feels he has a great deal to learn. But 
he will learn it very much sooner than one who knows no 
Latin. 

The second stage of the drawing introduces us to a new 
set of difficulties, which depend on knowledge of Nature 
rather than of Art. Now we have hitherto talked of nothing 
but Art. or technical means of representing Nature. A book 
on the Beauties of External Nature, and which of them to 
choose for subject, and how to represent them, would soon 
grow into a whole library, if it were faithfully written. All 
we can do is to point out some of the natural phenomena in 
the frontispiece, chosen for their beauty, fitness, and interest, 
and give the student some notion of how to record them : 
when he has made a good copy of the work before him, he 
will not be totally helpless before Nature. But exact recipe 
what to do is henceforth impossible. 

However, take the distant mountain in the second stage 
and put in its shade with pure cobalt, and perhaps a little 
white. Then take a little rose madder with it, and put in the 
edgy distinct shadows in correct form on the distant hills 
right and left. They represent hollows in the mountain, or 
shadows of rocks. The rose madder patches on the top of 
the left-hand hill are patches of distant heather. Put them 
in, imitating the horizontal streaky touch, which in fact re-, 
presents the perspective of the little plots of heather growing 
along far-off ridges. Use a small long-haired brush, and cut 
sideways with it. Darken the tipper stones, and the central 
oak-bush ; and now pay great attention to cutting out the 
light forms of the ash and blackberry 1 . Put some brown 
madder into your darker green for the shade hue ; or use 
raw sienna, brown madder, and cobalt together ; or gamboge, 
indigo, and a little Indian red. 

1 The perfect sharpness of the bright leaves is reserved for the last shadow, as, 
were it done now, it would have to be repeated with that nearly impossible to do 
exactly. 



FRONTISPIECE. 193 

Unless you are quite sure of them, trace out the forms of 
the ferns and leaves in right and left foreground with a sharp 
hard pencil, following the outline left in the second stage. 
Then put on the shade with a fine brush, leaving the lights, 
and working as quickly as possible, never touching more than 
you can help. You will see what value the shade will give 
the bright greens which are left. So with the grass on right 
hand. 

Go over the water with burnt sienna and gamboge, gradating 
from the dark shadow under the big stone : leave the centre 
reflection ; and observe that the brown peat water reflects a 
light object much better than a dark one. 

Take a faint transparent grey (your original madder and 
cobalt will do), and go over the undulation of the light surface 
of the big stone ; and model the others also with a darker 
and warmer grey, adding a little Vandyke brown to the grey 
you are using. 

Add some stronger touches of rose madder to the heather- 
blossom. 

Faintest rose madder and cobalt shadow on the white 
cloud. 

THIRD STAGE OF FRONTISPIECE. 

This stage of your subject tries both your knowledge of 
Nature and your technical skill considerably more than the 
others. It requires a smaller brush than the others, and 
darker and more transparent colours. Almost the whole 
surface of the drawing has to be gone over again with small 
touches : and the great difficulty is, that these touches ought 
not to be an unmeaning stipple, but everywhere suggestive of 
form. It is the misfortune, and not the fault, of the chromo- 
graphed frontispiece, that, like all chromographs, it wants the 
rapid sharpness of touch and minute significance of form which 
the original possesses in a remarkable degree. But there is 
enough form in it to render it highly instructive, and more 
particularly so to those who have been accustomed to careful 
sketching and watchful observation of natural objects of land- 
scape. Advice about finishing your copy must necessarily be 
more vague now than before. But, supposing that you have 

O 



194 THIRD STAGE. 

produced a decent imitation of the second stage, you will have 
a tolerable idea of what is required to finish your work, even 
before you take up the third. That want is expressed by the 
words 'making out.' That is to say, you want additional 
facts, principally of form : for on our system of laying dark 
over light the pure colours are left from the first, and if they 
have been kept clear, you have already secured the best part 
of your colour. It is possible for you to glaze with trans- 
parent tints, and so give greater richness to your work in 
parts ; but finish of that kind is beyond all rule and direction. 
So, indeed, are the broad washes of shadow which water- 
colourists are always having recourse to, when detail has been 
painted too strongly in middle-distance or elsewhere, and 
when various objects or different distances look equally 
forcible. Under such circumstances the eye does not know 
where to go in the picture ; there is no governing point of 
attraction, but various points which are equally attractive, and 
the attention is not properly led on from one to the other. 
To do this is the object of composition ; and in the chapter 
on that subject some principles and rules are attempted. At 
present we can only say, that a half-finished drawing often 
looks unconnected, and what painters call ' spotty.' They 
then say that it wants ' bringing together,' or massing : and 
this generally has to be done by throwing broad veils of 
shadow over those lights which separate isolated features. 
This, however necessary, is still a corrective process (unless, 
indeed, it has been designed from the first), and in theory 
ought not to be necessary, as the features of the drawing 
ought to be put in at once at the right pitch of shade and 
hue ; and to have been composed and arranged at first in 
proper subordination to each other. 

Now compare the second and third stage, and proceed to 
make out the two distant hills by putting in quick triangular 
or lancet-shaped touches of light ultramarine or cobalt, which 
stand for shadows of rocks seen in perspective. Express the 
undulations of the moor-ground by hatched lines in the 
proper direction. Deepen with small sharp touches sug- 
gestive of rock (to learn to suggest you must study rocks or 
rock photographs) the 'coire,' or hollow side of distant 



REMARKS. 195 

mountain. Then take up your foreground of grass and leaves, 
with small touches of gamboge, burnt sienna, and Prussian 
blue, in different strengths. Be very careful to give the 
masses of foliage their perspective : notice the roundness of 
the dark bushes and the brambles in the foreground. Observe 
how the sprays and leaves stand like leaves, edgeways in 
great measure, and all shewing different perspectives. Do 
not miss a leaf, that is to say, put in every one you can as it 
stands in the copy. If it be too intricate, that is what it is 
there for : it represents Nature, which is still more complex, 
and is in fact intended to puzzle you. Take a part separately 
on another piece of paper : for instance, the ferns, &c., 
between the two nearest grey stones on the left, and try to 
imitate them exactly: and then return to the rest. What- 
ever the look of your copy may be in the end, you will have 
gained considerably by having made it ; and will feel that 
gain with the very next drawing you begin. 

The water is now finished by clear touches of Vandyke 
brown, which represent the shadows of its faint ripple, or its 
deeper parts. The yellow lights are pebbles at the bottom, 
slightly interfered with by faint stone-grey reflections from the 
large stones above the water. Notice, and try to render, the 
variety and gradation of depth in the colours of the little pool, 
which is in itself a valuable exercise in colour and gradation. 

Almost every square inch of the frontispiece will make a 
useful exercise, especially of its foreground : and no one who 
can imitate its bushes and foliage pretty well is likely to feel 
helpless, when he has to draw trees on a larger scale. 

REMARKS. 

The student may be now supposed to have reached the 
point at which he may begin original work, or, in other words, 
begin to study Nature for himself without rigidly prescribed 
method. We apprehend that the term ' original ' is, when 
well considered, a very wide one in Art ; and that it applies, 
to all pictures, &c., in which either pupil or master attempts 
to record for himself what he has seen for himself. It is quite 
natural and quite right, and an excellent way of employing 

O 3 



196 CONVENTIONAL COLOUR. 

time, for a young person to make careful copies of good 
pictures or models under the eye of a master, or even without 
one. But it can only result in a copy, or repetition of 
another person's work. When the pupil has gained skill 
enough to observe Nature with an eye to recording the 
beauty of Nature, and to set such record on paper in an 
intelligible form, the work produced will not perhaps look so 
successful as a copy, but it will be a work in another and far 
higher class. 

The Exercises already set forth are almost entirely 
technical. They have been principally on Form, because 
power of representing form is much more easily communi- 
cated than power of colour. We have anticipated, in the last 
chapter, a statement we now repeat, that colour in Landscape, 
and all highly interesting or complicated subject, is always to 
a great extent conventional. This is caused, as has been said, 
by the high lights of Nature being brighter than any white or 
yellow light which can be put into a picture. It is also true 
that the deepest shadows of any scene which contains 
powerful light and shade are stronger than any black or deep 
brown with which we can match them in painting it. It 
follows that all the scales of colour we can give are more or 
less tentative and conventional, and that in using them the 
student will have to trust his own eyes after all. It has 
already been explained, that on Rembrandt's system of giving 
up colour in the dark shades, and choosing subjects like single 
heads and dark interiors where the brightest light -was strictly 
within his reach, almost absolute truth may be attained. But 
the possibility of this will depend on the subject ; and any 
landscape scene of natural light and shade, or figure-subject 
involving variety of tint and colour, will put it out of the 
question ; the range of light and shade and variety of colour 
are so infinitely greater in an open-air scene than in an 
interior. 

Landscape studies in water-colour will naturally come 
first. As most commonly happens, our student's choice of 
subject may be already determined by natural taste or pre- 
vious study. Those who prefer the modern water-colour 
styles of more or less conscientious drawing, will choose 



COX, PROUT, AND HARDING. 197 

their master more or less wisely, and imitate Nature more 
or less in his way. Harding's, or Cox's, or Prout's published 
examples and advanced lessons in water-colour will probably 
find many disciples ; and very considerable advance may be 
made by taking them as guides. Their tints of colour may 
be used, and their usual methods of composition studied, and 
an attentive disciple will soon pick up their simpler arrange- 
ments of light and shade, and learn to dispose his own 
sketches in the same way. But hardly any one who has 
gone with tolerable attention through the lessons we have 
already given, ought to think it enough to arrange sketches 
into problems of light and shade in a methodical and dictated 
way. Enough accuracy of eye and delicacy of hand ought 
now to have been gained to dispose the student himself to 
modify the manner of any master he may have chosen for the 
time ; and in fact to begin to form a style of his own. There 
is no harm done if he remains a copyist : for he may record 
natural facts in David Cox's way to the end of his lifetime 
without the process doing him anything but good : but being 
himself, and not David Cox, he ought to have in him a way 
of his own. Of course he must fall short of his models in 
their strong points ; but he ought to be able to see their 
weak ones .plainly enough, and wish to avoid them. Besides 
this, the real power of drawing which he will have gained will 
probably make his style in landscape a rather defined one at 
first, and he will be both able and willing to realize and work 
out his foregrounds with some attempt at exactness. And 
while he honestly indulges this ambition his success is almost 
a certainty ; though he may feel unexpected disappointments 
at first. Memory, feeling, and past travel and experience 
of scenery and natural effects will be all called into play. 
He is able to draw anything that will wait for him, perhaps ; 
but he will soon find himself, in natural study, struggling with 
waves and clouds, and gazing after evanescent bursts of light. 
The freedom and incessant variety and change of Nature will 
confuse him at first ; and he will find new ideas of space, 
multitude, and vastness come to him in a highly disturbing 
manner. And this effect will be yet further increased if 
he belongs to the first of two classes, into which all persons 



198 DIFFERENCE OF SIGHT. 

of good sight, considered as actual or possible artists, may 
be divided. 

These are, in two words, the minute-sighted and the far- 
sighted. This difference has been long ago pointed out in 
Prof. Ruskin's pamphlet on Pre-Rafaelitism, where the essen- 
tial principles of good Art-work are proved to be the same 
in exact foreground work as in well-rendered subjects which 
involve distance and a wide horizon. He takes Millais as 
the representative of limited space and minute realization of 
detail on a comparatively large scale, and Turner as the 
great master of effects and impressions ; equally faithful in 
detail, as detail would appear to the eye of a spectator 
whose attention is really called upon by objects of great 
interest and beauty in distance or middle-distance. The 
difference, roughly speaking, is that of scale. When the 
whole scene of a picture is bounded by the four walls of a 
court or small garden, or a corner of either of them, all the 
objects of detail strike the eye differently, and are, as a 
matter of common sense, to be rendered more sharply than 
where the eye of the spectator ranges over a wide valley 
or chain of mountains : the vastly greater extent of horizon 
and space of course makes all the difference ; the principle 
of painting things seen as they are seen being equally car- 
ried out by both artists. But the distinction between the 
typical characters had better be given in the words of its 
first observer : 

' Suppose two men, equally honest and industrious, equally impressed 
with a humble desire to render some part of what they see in Nature 
faithfully. One has feeble memory and invention and excessively keen 
sight; the other is impatient, has a memory which nothing escapes, 
with unresting invention, and is (comparatively) near-sighted. Set them 
both free in a mountain valley. One sees everything, small and large, 
with almost the same clearness, mountains and grasshoppers alike. . . . 
He chooses some small portion out of the infinite scene, and calculates 
the number of weeks which must elapse before he can do justice to 
the intensity of his perceptions. . . . The other has been watching the 
change of the clouds, and the march of the light along the mountain- 
sides. He beholds the entire scene in broad soft masses of true grada- 
tion. . . . (There are) multitudes of circumstances impossible for him 
to represent. But there is not one change in the jagged shadows 
along the hollows of the hills but is fixed on his mind. ... As for his 



TURNER AND MILL A IS. 199 

sitting down to " draw from Nature," there was not one of the things 
which he wished to represent that stayed for so much as five seconds 
together, but none of them escaped for all that. It is absurd to expect 
these men to possess any of the qualities of each other.' 

The leading distinction between the methods of work 
which these two sorts of men will pursue will of course 
turn on this, that one man's whole subject will generally 
wait for him, the other's will not. Both, however, must 
cultivate rapidity and decision the first of course depend- 
ing on the last. The student here enters on the painter's 
great difficulty and leading rule of knowing what he has to 
do, and doing it. It will be more fully spoken of when 
we come to our chapter on Landscape Sketching from 
Nature. But rapidity is absolutely necessary in water-colour, 
to prevent drying and unpleasant edges in one's work ; and, 
moreover, the particles of colour seem to arrange and gra- 
date themselves best in quick touches. But a rule already 
hinted at (p. 138), must now be 'made absolute' in all our 
work : that every touch that is put on shall have a planned 
form, or be part of a larger planned form. Though it may 
be impossible to carry this rule out altogether, still it can- 
not be approached too closely. It is the habit of rendering 
form with single touches, made expressive on both sides of 
the brush at once, which makes water-colour training so 
valuable, as it necessitates continual attention, and inces- 
sant application of the eye and mind. We repeat, the out- 
line of each touch must often express form on both sides. 
The slower processes of oil-colour are surer and less dis- 
tracting. Of course if it were possible to store one's memory 
with forms, by any means except repeated attempt at ren- 
dering forms, such means might be taken, and the painter 
might duly form a stock of ideas in his memory, and then 
deliberately compose from it in oil-colour. But the painter's 
memory is best supplied with form by practice in the quick 
clear touches, broad or subtle, of the water-colour brush: 
from it he will soonest learn what expression is : and he 
may enter on all painting through its means, as piano prac- 
tice will introduce him to all music. Perhaps the ideal artist's 
career would thus begin with water-colour to gain facility 



200 W. HUNT AND LEWIS. 

and multitudinous fulness of expression. He would then pro- 
duce works of elaborate power in oil ; then, when his vigour 
of mind had reached its height and his technical knowledge 
was at the full, he would go on to the speed and decisive 
breadth of fresco, returning to the rapidity of the water-colour 
system. We apprehend that this is the principle of Michael 
Angelo's traditional saying, that oil-painting was work for 
women, and fresco for men : that the latter is so great a test 
of force, rapidity, and decision, both spiritual and technical, 
in thought and working : besides that fresco is unalterable, 
and thus exaggerates water-colour difficulties. 

Strictly speaking, then, water-colour must be considered as 
a preliminary training for the more powerful means of pic- 
torial expression in oil and fresco. At all events, some of 
the best water-colours in existence have been produced by 
men skilled in oil-painting, and by the use of body-colour 
or transparent vehicle in large quantities, so as to resemble 
oil-colours in the working. This will apply to Mr. Lewis's 
works, and indeed to the late Mr. William Hunt's ; which 
seem to unite in great measure the advantages of both styles. 
How far the use of body-colour ought to be carried we do not 
think of saying ; but it ought not to be used in water-colour 
as an imitation of oils at all events. However, the rule of 
oil-colour painting which enjoins the use of opaque colours in 
sky and distance and for lights, and of transparent ones in 
shade, holds good in water-colours also. For elaborate water- 
colours, as for all compositions, the rule is of course masses 
first, detail afterwards. When we have to speak of Com- 
position, we shall endeavour to give some examples of 
arrangement of masses and points of interest 1 . And until 
the proper arrangement of a picture is secured, detail must 
not be attended to. Solidity and tone must come first ; that 



1 We shall have to distinguish between conceptions and compositions, i.e. 
between pictures where the eyesight, feeling, and inspiration of the artist dictate 
all, or nearly all (so that he is unconscious of following any particular rule or 
principle in arranging his objects) and pictures more technically or methodically 
produced. The latter, as works of Art, are inferior ; but they may be instructive 
to the student who wants to analyse the manner (or habitual method of self- 
expression) of the painter he is studying. 



COMPOSITION. 201 

is to say, you must get the right blue, and the right pitch of 
blue, on your distance, and the right depth of green, red, 
yellow, or brown on your woods, and the right quantity of 
light and of dark all settled, and know the true perspective 
of all your leading forms, before you begin to make out 
the drawing of the objects all over your picture. Of course 
your previous knowledge of all such drawing ought to have 
been secured by sketches and studies. And one great secret 
of success for a learner is to make a good blotted sketch in 
sepia beforehand, without much form, but with the desired 
effect in light and shade ; and to have by him, with it, a set 
of etched lines of all the forms in the intended work. He 
should also have written down on the margin of the light-and- 
shade blot the actual ' pigments ' he intends to use to make 
the light and dark varied tints which are to take the place, in 
the finished work, of the uniform black-and-white masses in 
the preliminary blot. 



CHAPTER IV. 
I. 

ON FINISH. 

IT would be hard to find any single term in Art which has 
led, and at this day leads, to more varied discussion than 
the word 'Finish.' It is connected with all the questions 
between High Art so called, and Low or Minor Art so called ; 
and with all the varieties of opinion which are embraced, and 
familiarly expressed, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the state- 
ment that ' the Dutch painters represent the low school, and 
the Italian painters the lofty one.' He instances Michael 
Angelo, and says that he and the Italians attend only to the 
invariable, the great and general ideas which are fixed and 
inherent in universal Nature ; while the Dutch attend to 
literal truth and minute exactness, in detail, of Nature 
modified by accident. He says also, that if Michael Angelo 
had paid the same attention to detail of Nature so modified, 
his works would 'not only receive no advantage, but would 
lose in a great measure the effect which they now have on 
every mind susceptible of great and noble ideas.' 

Sir Joshua Reynolds' practice was as habitually contradictory 
to the general drift of his instructions as any painter's can 
possibly be. His reputation rests (and in the same circle with 
that of Velasquez and Titian) principally on the fact that he 
drew ladies' faces with exquisite attention to the accidents 
which modify those interesting but changeful phenomena. 
The word 'accident' is used in the passage to which we 
have referred in a correct logical sense. An accident, strictly 
defined as a logical term, is that which comes into uncertain 
connexion with, or joins itself by contingency to, the essence 



SIX JOSHUA REYNOLDS. 203 

of the individual person or thing. Either it does so at once 
and for ever, like a past happiness or sorrow, or only for a 
time, like having black hair, which may fall of or turn white ; 
or standing up, or sitting down, or a fall out hunting or 
skating. A lady's face may have been sunburnt by accident 
when Sir Joshua observed it, and he may have put a little 
yellow into his carmine in consequence ; yet the picture by 
no means ' lost its effect on a mind capable of receiving noble 
ideas ' because of that. Good or bad temper is an accident, 
or rather good or bad humour. The picture in Christ Church 
Hall of Archbishop Robinson has an expression of quiet 
annoyance in its side-look, arising, says tradition, from the fact 
that the bishop, a severely studious man, would never spare 
the time to sit for his portrait, and consequently had to be 
drawn by stealth. This was done through a door, near which 
Sir Joshua was placed, obtaining views of the bishop by 
means of successive messages, which necessitated the door's 
being opened and the bishop's looking up. Whether this 
story be true or not, it will be admitted that Sir Joshua was 
right in painting the bishop with an expression of subdued 
irritation because he then and there looked irritated, though 
uncomplaining rather than paint him without any expression 
at all, or with some generally episcopal expression. Expres- 
sion is an accident ; yet neither Sir Joshua nor Michael 
Angelo, nor Giotto, nor the unknown Byzantines who 
painted mournful Madonnas in the first days, ever failed 
to strive for every particle of expression they could possibly 
give every face they painted. It is quite true that Sir Joshua 
sometimes painted drapery carelessly, which was very ex- 
cusable at a time when ladies sat to him in a kind of white 
bedgown. And he very often painted his backgrounds care- 
lessly, which we think less excusable, because he need not 
have painted them at all, but might have let somebody else 
do them better. But many, nay all, of the great Italians 
paint landscape backgrounds with details, accidents, and 
incidents enough, with devoted care and strong personal 
enjoyment. Then as to accidents of dress, than which no 
humbler pieces of detail can be imagined ; Titian, as a master 
of Italian painting in every style of history and portrait, was the 



204 TITIAN'S PORTRAIT OF 

choice of Sir Joshua's choice ; for our own great painter preferred 
Velasquez to all other masters, and Velasquez certainly pre- 
ferred Titian \ This is true, whether Sir Joshua was thinking 
of Titian or not when he made his astonishing statement in 
the ' Idler,' ' that he did not mean to include the Venetian 
School in his idea of Italian painting, because it might be 
said to represent the Dutch part of the Italian genius.' And 
for Titian's drawing of details and accidents, we must, we 
fear, appeal to painters only, because only they who have 
tried to copy him can tell how resolute and complete it is. It 
is quite true that its unlaboured perfection does not withdraw 
attention from the main subject or motive of the picture : but 
still its details are made perfect by Titian's hand ; and to 
this day, he who would follow Titian must finish in detail, 
and work out accidents with considerable labour and diffi- 
culty, however easily Titian worked them out. You will not 
get near Titian by leaving out what he put in. And he put 
in all. The great portrait of the Doge Andrea Gritti, in Prof. 
Ruskin's possession, is as good and as accessible an instance of 
perfect work in detail, perfectly carried out, as can be wished 
' for. Perfectly it is worked out, in this sense : because the 
Doge, or rather Andrea Gritti the Doge, strikes one at the 
first glance ; there is nothing in the magnificent dress to 
which the Doge is not superior, he dignifies his fine clothes, 
and not they him, although they are finished to absolute 
completeness and Tightness. It is not, be it observed, as with 
a grand historical or religious subject, where the interest of 
the action necessarily triumphs over well-wrought accessories, 
and where dresses and details may be carried out with ever 
so much pains, without distracting the spectator's attention 
from the principal action. It is in a simple portrait that the 
character of the subject is made so to prevail over all his 
entourage. When Crambe told Martinus Scriblerus that he 
could conceive of a Lord Mayor without his gown, chain, 
attendants, body or digestive organs, that great master of 
dialectic simply called him a fool. A modern critic of por- 
traiture, more sensible than Crambe of the importance of 
costume, would naturally pay no small attention to the Doge's 
1 Ruskin, The Two Paths,' p. 83. See Appendix 2. 



DOGE ANDREA GRITTL 205 

bcrretta and gold embroidery. Yet no person with education, 
feeling, or soul above buttons, can help seeing how great is 
the Art-power which is shewn, in that accurate finish of the 
splendid dress, which never for a moment diverts any atten- 
tion from the stout Lord of the Adriatic. There is no 
mistaking his fine-cut Coeur-de-Lion type of face, his wide- 
opened blue eye of good nature and command, his sharply 
chiselled mouth of action, thick bull-neck of strength, and 
soft beard and hair of high blood. All this is written down 
in colour and subtle form for all men to see : but Titian's 
work was not done when it was written. On the contrary, 
every line of woven gold in the embroidered cloak plays and 
reflects light in exactly the right place, as the cunning pattern 
undulates over its folds. The yellow paint looks exactly like 
actual gold, so artfully is its tint changed from darker to 
lighter in each fold of the stuff 1 . It is all separate stripes; 
and the tint has been changed with methodical exactness in 
every one, so that the folds of the dress are pointed out by 
the waving of its pattern. In short, Titian puts the gold- 
work on the Doge's coat of state for exactly the same reason 
as the Doge put that coat on his body as a proper accessory, 
befitting him, and worthy of his office, and requiring proper 
treatment and care in its subordinate place. It is the same 
with Titian's forest-leaves, and stones, and tree-trunks : all 
have their detailed statements of minor fact. It may not 
have been painful to him to carry them so far ; evidently it 
was quite the contrary : nor did it probably take him so long 
a time as would appear, since time in Art-work is lost by 
changing and correcting, and the great master's purpose 
altered not, nor did his science ever need to reconsider the 
means by which he would carry his purpose out. So with 
Leonardo's subtle finish, or Rafael's. Can you find blotted 
leaves, or scrawled grass, or doughy tree-trunks, or clayey 
stones in either ? You are not led aside from faces and forms 
to look at the stones under them, it is true. But Nature put 
the stones under the feet of men, with minute veins and 
varied colour in them : and so does Leonardo. The fact is, 

1 This answers, we think, almost exactly to what painters mean by the mysterious 
term ' quality ' in work. 



206 THE WORKMAN. 

he who can command or produce Beauty, Truth, or Power in 
the motive of his picture will never lessen its value or im- 
pressiveness, by trying to give it inferior beauties and truths 
in its accessories. The effect of a large sapphire is not 
diminished by its being surrounded with small diamonds. 
And, on the other hand, we think that the man who is not 
painter and workman enough at heart to want to draw his 
accessories like a workman, is not a likely person to have, 
certainly not a likely person to realize on canvas, any great 
and powerful ideas. Not to mention that a real workman 
can paint things right with great rapidity, and without 
vexation to himself. 

In our sketch of the life of Giotto, allusion is made to the 
story of his circle, drawn as the only specimen of his skill he 
would send Pope Benedict XI. This is connected with our 
use of the word 'workman.' We apprehend that word, 
emphatically spoken, to be nearly the most honourable un- 
official title in the English language. And the word has so 
much to do with the question of artistic finish, completeness, 
and excellence (and indeed with excellence in all human 
pursuits), that it will lead us very well into our theory of 
finish, or completion, or excellence. For clearly a finished 
performance ought to be better and better the more it is 
finished, until it becomes excellent, i.e. conspicuously good of 
its kind, and according to its author's purpose. The author 
of ' Modern Painters ' has been over this ground before, but 
very few critics have followed him over it, and we apprehend 
we are right in trying to do so. 

The word 'workman,' used emphatically or with grave 
meaning, is highly honourable when applied to any man, 
because it is specially used as a word of praise by persons who 
possess real skill, and who affect the use of few words. It is 
much used with reference to riding, taciturnity being a great 
point in the horse-taming character, as Englishmen possess it. 
Lord Scamperdale explained his question about somebody by 
the cover side, ' Is he a workman ? ' by saying that he did not 
want to know whether the gentleman was a mechanic by pro- 
fession or not, but whether he could really ride or not. The 
adjective ' workmanlike ' is more generally applied, and 



THE MECHANIC. 207 

conveys the idea at least of genuine and unpretending skill, in 
doing a difficult thing well worth doing : strictly indeed of 
professional skill, of that thoroughness and excellence of 
performance which is gained by giving one's life to a par- 
ticular style of labour. The difference between amateur work 
and professional work in everything is recognised all over the 
world : and we have already adverted to it as regards amateur 
Art. 

Now as the words ' work,' ' workman,' and their cognates, 
are all highly honourable in the ears of all sane people ; so 
the words ' mechanic,' ' mechanical,' and the like, are slightly 
disparaging. The reason is, we think, in few words, that the 
former set of words call attention to the performances of a 
Soul, in point of fact ; and imply that a will has honourably 
sought to do well and rightly, and has been able somehow to 
get certain results effected, by means of its intellect and its 
bodily skill in applying that intellect (both, or rather all 
three, being assisted by experience of previous successful 
operations). But the word ' mechanical ' implies an absence of 
human energy or thought in the production of the immediate 
result before one's eyes. The thought which is evident in the 
result before the spectator does not come from man direct to 
man, but mediately, and through the ingenuity of others (who 
are intellectual middlemen, between the producer and the 
consumer). We do not like a print so well as a picture, 
generally speaking, or a chromograph so well as its original 
water-colour : and if we were asked why, we should give our 
reasons in words which would involve the assertion that one 
was a mechanical, or manual, work of Art, and the other an 
original production, due to the immediate connexion between 
the mind and hand of the producer. And, observe, this is not 
because the chromograph is not the result of great ingenuity. 
There is an immense accumulation of ingenuity in the long 
succession of contrivances which enabled Messrs. Day and 
Son to produce our frontispiece. But no artist would hesitate 
a moment in his choice between the original of that frontis- 
piece, and all the copies of it which adorn our present edition. 
The ingenuity of the men, who made the machinery which 
produced the chromograph, may be greater than that of any 



208 THE MECHANICIAN. 

painter from Nature, however excellent : but such ingenuity is 
not artistic, because it only produces a machine, which may 
be applied to the purpose of multiplying beautiful things, but is 
not itself beautiful, and cannot originate beauty. The same 
faculty would produce a steam-engine, or a sewing-machine, or 
a patent mangle. And doubtless very skilfully made machines 
of these or other kinds have an excellence of adaptation, which 
is called beauty in popular language, because it makes one feel 
a sense of admiration. But though the admiration is fully 
deserved, the term ' beautiful ' is applied to an ingenious con- 
trivance only by way of analogy ; and it expresses enjoyment of 
another man's cleverness, not of the beauty of his work. To Mr. 
Macdonald's drawing the term ' beauty ' is directly applicable : 
it is so in a less degree to the chromograph at the beginning 
of this book. Still, though the mechanicians who contrived 
the process of multiplying water-colours did not, probably, 
work as artists under impressions of admiration and pleasure 
in Nature, they worked as able and thoughtful men exercising 
God's gifts of skill, invention, and ingenuity in contrivance. 
Theirs was a liberal and scientific employment ; and the term 
' mechanical ' does not apply to them in any lowering sense at 
all ; and when applied to the results of their ingenuity, or 
that of other men like them, that word is used in its true or 
higher sense, of skilful adaptation of physical means to 
physical ends, and is in no sort disparaging. Why, then, is 
the term ever applied in a sense which is disparaging? 
Because, without in the least undervaluing honest labour of 
any kind, we cannot help painfully remembering that large 
numbers of men are condemned, as it were, to labour without 
thought or enjoyment ; and that though they may be, and 
often are, morally elevated by doing their work hard and 
honestly, they cannot learn anything by it, or ever enjoy the 
artistic pleasure of doing it well ; or, at all events, cannot 
enjoy it in the same degree as a painter. We do not know if 
the printers and workmen, who produced all our chromo- 
graphs, any of them enjoyed the idea of producing a pretty 
.thing ; but in as far as any of them enjoyed it in a genuine 
way, his work ceased to be mechanical, because it was done in 
an artistic spirit, more or less rejoicing in beauty. Those 



SOULLESS LABOUR. 209 

who merely screwed down the presses or laid on the colours 
because it was all in a day's work, acted, as we say, mechani- 
cally : their hearts, or souls, or selves were not in what their 
hands did. 

This train of thought brings us to see that the term ' me- 
chanical ' means soulless when it is used in a disparaging 
sense. There is a dynamical power in men as well as an 
organic frame ; and the former has a mysterious precedence 
over the latter ; we use this word sometimes to express con- 
spicuous absence of the former, and it then implies absence of 
energy, thought, spirit, soul, geist, and the like. In other 
words, it gives us a painful idea of a man's time and life being 
employed, while the best part of him is not put into his work, 
or called into exertion, or properly developed. The twenty 
meA who are said to be employed in making one pin, or those 
who pass life in cutting screws and nuts, or multiplying small 
parts of machines, are really in danger of a kind of degradation 
from their form of labour ; from which those who either exer- 
cise invention, or seek knowledge or beauty, are ipso facto free. 

It would seem, then, that a liberal, artistic, inventive, or 
scientific pursuit is distinguished from a purely mechanical 
pursuit by the fact that it involves thought or effort of mind. 
This holds good in spite of exceptions and difficult cases. 
We may hope, indeed, that many occupations which are far 
from artistic are pursued in a quasi-artistic spirit, which 
redeems them, in real truth, from being purely mechanical. 
It is not our business here to enquire how far moral elements 
enter into the artistic view of things ; but this we may say, 
that the honest desire to do anything one has to do as well as 
possible, is the common foundation of artistic and workman- 
like feeling. Giotto meant to say, by sending his circle to 
Pope Benedict, that he could not give account of his inventive 
genius, because it was God's gift, for which he had not 
worked ; but that he could assure the Pope that the hand 
which had laboured so many years would always do its work 
as truly as in the specimen he sent ; since he had worked for 
that gift of hand, and fairly earned it. In a certain undefined 
sense, ' the hand of Douglas is his own.' Giotto appealed to 
the Pope's belief in his sense of the workman's honour. And 

P 



210 FINISH, 

even in the least ornamental or interesting pursuits, we may 
understand how near the workman's feeling is to the artist's, 
in lower matter. An old shoemaker once told me he gave up 
making boots for the Royal Family, as journeyman and actual 
maker, because a great deal of fine sewing had to be put into 
parts about the sole, ' and then all the beauty of the work was 
lost and blacked over.' The^ scavenger's saying, about fancy- 
sweeping round a post, is, I fear, of dubious authority : but it 
is hard to distinguish between the feeling of Art and that of 
good work, except by the matter or means on which they are 
employed. There is a certain pursuit of the really beautiful 
in the good mason who likes to see his work proved true by 
plumb-line and spirit-level, and the ploughman who is proud 
of his straight furrows. And I think that hardly any man, 
who is deservedly high in the pursuit of great Art, will refuse 
sympathy with these workmen ; or refuse to share their title 
with them. To do a very difficult thing well is a great thing ; 
but to do a small thing as well as you can for the sake of the 
KaAoj/ is something. 

What, then, is workmanlike finish ? You must ask each in 
sua arte, and take the best man's word. In Art we will refer 
to Titian and Leonardo among ancients, and to John Lewis of 
the moderns. But by our principles, what is true finish 
likely to be ? Is there any finish that is unworthy of the 
workman ? At this point we fear we must leave the more 
ordinary occupations, commonly and perhaps unworthily 
called mechanical, and confine ourselves to Art-work. Where 
the mere enjoyment of his own skill is all that interests or 
awakens a slight artistic feeling in the operator, it does not 
signify much what his operation is, as long as he does it well 
and pleasantly. But pictures are, after all, different and 
higher things to do than boots, or masonry, or ploughing, or 
sweeping. How will our principle about good work having 
a soul in it and mechanical work not having it, help us here ? 
The smith's work has the smith's soul in it, if he be a good 
one : so has the artist's : only from the greater simplicity of 
his work, the smith knows more exactly how far he must 
carry his work out. Can the artist determine in the same 
way, and where is he to stop ? 



MECHANICAL AND THOUGHTFUL. 211 

We think he can determine : and we here refer the reader 
to Mr. Ruskin's chapter on Finish, ' Modern Painters,' vol. iii. 
pp. 113-128. He sums up the whole in half-a-dozen words, 
that ' All true finish is added fact ' or thought pointing out 
by beautiful examples and illustrations from the works of 
Turner to what distance of completion that great master, to 
use his own expression, ' carried forward ' his pictures. There 
is a difference between thoughtful, artistic, or high-workman- 
like finish, and unmeaning, mechanical, or low-workmanlike 
finish. Wrong choice in this matter has at least a tendency 
to vulgarity ; since vulgarity has its root in dulness, absence 
of thought, and deadness of mind which cannot distinguish 
the finish of completeness from that of mere polish. Our 
popular notions of turn-out and finish are far too mechanical, 
for the most part depending far too much on thoughtless and 
unmeaning labour. In our highly finished furniture and 
decorations, one cannot help noticing that French polish goes 
for almost everything. All of us who can afford it pay men 
for polishing and rubbing up plate and tables, but no one 
makes any exertion, or puts any pressure on goldsmiths and 
carpenters, to get oak and walnut well carved, or silver cun- 
ningly moulded ; and where our Art-schools have brought 
out effort of this kind, it seems always to be directed to the 
elaborate dulness of the latest French or Dutch renaissance. 
Yet in some things we understand the difference between useful 
and useless finish, between work and polish. The national 
taste for plainness and unobtrusive appearance is much over- 
strained and misapplied, and in many things amounts to 
rejection of beauty and right ornament. But in some things 
at least it does us justice, and particularly in tools and in- 
struments which are meant to be used by the hands of the 
rich man himself in saddlery and harness, for example. 
Perhaps the best common instance of English good taste in 
effective completeness is a well-made gun or rifle. It is ugly, 
and so it ought to be, being an instrument of death. But its 
finish is of a high kind, because almost all the labour put into 
it conduces to its efficiency. The fine steel is darkened, and 
the choice wood studiously left unpolished, though formed to 
exact shape suited to the bearer's length of neck and arms. 

P 2 



212 MILLAIS* ROYALIST. 

The strength of the locks, the fall of the hammers, the amount 
of pressure or pull of the triggers are all calculated by ounces. 
The closeness and force of the smooth barrel is fully ascer- 
tained ; the grooves and sights of the rifle are tested together 
till its performance is a certainty ; the efficiency, or usefulness, 
of every part of the weapon is perfect ; but the national taste 
and feeling is utterly against wasting ornament on that which 
is meant to kill. 

Now the complicated and calculated appliance of means to 
ends, or, in other words, of thought to matter, distinguishes 
make from polish, or true finish from false in all things : and 
this rule holds good with Art. The more consistent and con- 
nected thoughts there are in a picture, the more finish ; and 
vice versa. Our chapter on Composition deals, in a brief 
and fragmentary way, with such methods of arrangement and 
choice of ideas in a painting, as may make all its parts con- 
sistent with its main purpose, or, in painter's language, give 
it unity. And in sketches and studies from Nature, intelli- 
gent finish seems to be connected with composition. A tree- 
trunk, for instance, is the example chosen in ' Modern Paint- 
ers.' If that is the main object of your picture, or if it is 
anywhere near its main action, so that the spectator must 
needs look at it, it must be dwelt on in proportion to its im- 
portance in the picture ; and, indeed, if it is at all near, it is 
important enough to be carried on so far that any thoughtful 
spectator, who has really looked hard at trees, shall be able to 
find the principal facts of tree-structure about it. The hollow 
trunk in Millais' Proscribed Royalist divides one's attention 
with the young lady's satin skirt ; which skirt, though won- 
derfully elaborated, is kept in proper subordination by the 
pretty face and figure in it ; though we must say it is hardly 
a dress for the greenwood 1 . But it does not seem that the 
picture would be the better for a generalized tree, or an ideal 
tree, or a typical tree, with a light side and a dark side, and 
a few conventional grey and green touches about it : and the 
painter is evidently right in carrying all out strictly, even to 

1 Probably, however, the idea of the Cavalier's lying perdu close at home is 
meant to be suggested ; the damsel may have left a party incidentally on her kind 
errand. 



TINTORET'S SWIFTNESS. 213 

the last year's leaves under the girl's feet. In other works 
which take in a larger horizon, or do not attach special in- 
terest to their trees, less labour may no doubt pass. The 
distance from the eye may be greater then, as the eye would 
see less, the hand may paint less. In short, the old rule, 
' Paint what you see, and do not paint what you don't see' 
(with the inner or the outer eye), holds good in this as in 
everything. Or the artist may be tired, or pressed for time, 
since painters are but men, and perfect leisure for work is as 
rare a thing as perfect temper in it. In that case, we will 
take his sketch, or his incomplete picture, for what it is, and 
give him credit for everything right that is in it : but what- 
ever is in it which is wrong must lessen its value. He may 
leave things blank if he will, or only cover the canvas, but he 
must not leave things wrong ; and he ought to draw them 
right in the first instance. ' Tintoret has drawn several large 
tree-trunks in the two landscapes at the end of the Scuola di 
San Rocco, with two strokes of his brush ; one for the dark, 
another for the light side : and the large rock at the foot of 
the picture of the Temptation is painted with a few detached 
touches of grey over a flat brown ground : but the touches of 
his tree-trunks have been followed by the mind as they went 
down with the most painful intensity through their every 
undulation ; and the few grey strokes on the stone are so 
considered that a better stone could not be painted if we took 
a month to do it 1 . 

This is power in Art, such as is gained by the hardest 
labour of the highest genius. It is the discipline of passion 
into precision. Towards this all Pre-Rafaelite study ought 
to lead : to this Turner's brown ' Liber Studiorum ' and grey 
drawings of all things led him. And the drift of it all is, 
that if one's work has no visible error, then its incompleteness 
is not error, but a different thing. It is an important remark 
that, generally speaking, a certain degree of impetuosity is 
visible in the works of men of high imagination. This is 
shewn in Michael Angelo's many unfinished blocks ; and by 
symptoms in some of his finished works it appears that the 
labour of completion was painful to him towards the end. 

1 Modern Painters, vol. ii. p. 182. 



214 FINISH AND POLISH. 

Tintoret's touch is careful and fine at last, though certain and 
firm. The finish of Michael Angelo's works, when he did 
finish, is seen in the Duke Lorenzo, the Madonna of the same 
chapel, the Bacchus of the Uffizii, and the Pieta of Genoa : 
and the first and two last, in particular, are matchless 
examples of power of conception realized in full completion. 

But to return to our tree-trunks, and the other incidents 
and accidents of a picture. When is a tree-trunk finished ? 
We suppose, when you have given everything in it which 
ought to be visible at its supposed distance from the eye, and 
at the supposed hour of the day or night. It may be carried 
only far enough to pass muster, and intended only for care- 
less inspection, in any given part. In that case the picture is 
so far forth of less value than one in which the other features 
are equal to it, and that part is better finished. But if what 
is done is wrongly done, or if unmeaning polish is put on to 
look like finish in a deceiving way, then the whole picture is 
lessened in value, and all suffers together : the unmeaning 
and mindless work ruins all. But to take the usual steps of 
progress. First comes the outline ; which as an outline alone 
may be either broad or fine, according to the distance at 
which it is to be seen. That states so many facts about the 
tree. Then the shade is put on, the general half-tint shade, 
according to the main forms of the trunk : and it asserts and 
describes a great deal about those forms. With it the outline 
vanishes, or rather it is merged in and becomes a part of the 
shade ; and it is only left on the light side conventionally, to 
guide the eye in putting in the background : with it are also 
inserted the sharp cast shadows of other boughs which may 
cross the upright trunk. The outline makes the following 
statement to our minds ; only it speaks in Art-symbols, 
which are pretty, just as we write its words down in 'phonetic' 
or letter-symbols, which are rather ugly : 

' I am the outside line or limitation (not the imitation] of 
the form which will be completed, when the shade is put on 
me, and I am merged in it. I am going to be made into the 
form of an oak-trunk, I hope. That form will be young or 
old, rough, sturdy, and wide-spreading, shattered and cloven, 
or expressive of struggling to hold on and you may see 



FORM AND LINE. 215 

from me which. It will be large at its base, like a tower 
standing on a wide foundation, or a spurred pillar, and will 
increase again in bulk just before it ramifies. When it does 
so it will break into x branches : they will spread to y extent 
on each side ; and there will be leaves, acorns, and little 
birds on them to the # th or to an indefinite extent, as I can't 
be drawn to express them all.' 

The shade takes up its parable and says ' I am the form 
of an oak trunk, young, old, rough, sturdy, &c., or shattered, 
&c. I am rounded by gradations of my depth or force : they 
will point out further facts about me when the proper lines of 
drawing are put in. But there are spaces left, on which that 
young man with the palette evidently means to put light 
moss ; and he has taken a good deal of trouble about my 
edges, which are ragged in some places and smooth in others, 
and sometimes straight and sometimes twisted. He seems 
to know what sort of anatomy I am to have. In this case 
(the Royalist) I am to have a great hollow in my inside, and 
there is a blank left in that of the shape of a young man. 
My number of branches, &c. &c. is x, &c. &c. ; they are 
darker than the sky behind me, and their high lights are 
brighter than the ground behind me, but I don't know how 
much darker or brighter, because the background and sky are 
not put in yet.' 

To him enter background and sky, and begin to talk about 
him to us in his presence. ' This oak is so broad and so dark 
in colour : such and such bars and spots upon him are cast 
shadows : it is a dark day or a sunshiny one. We are soft 
and blue, white and green, or grey and threatening, and 
brown : or, if we are all one hue, we do our utmost to indi- 
cate degrees of light and space by careful gradation. There 
is a space left in the middle of us in the shape of a young 
woman.' Then the lines and careful surface-drawing on the 
trunk of the talking oak begin, about his anatomy and his 
muscles, and his scars, of loss of limbs and bark, and perhaps 
about his rings of years. Of course in the progress of 
a finished picture like Mr. Millais' Cavalier, the statements of 
all the parts are greatly multiplied, and have been made more 
vivid and detailed by the addition of the more powerful 



21 6 FINISH BY ADDED FACT. 

language, and countless additional facts of colour. ' The oak 
is garrulously given, a babbler in the land.' We cannot 
follow out the innumerable facts which assert themselves 
when the young lady and cavalier are put in : we have only 
to do with the question, How far the oak-trunk ought to be 
finished ? Or rather let us say, that, as in this picture, it is 
completed a outrance ; and as all its facts are put in, and 
all put in right, it is probable that other painters ought to do 
in similar pictures as Mr. Millais has done in this. The abso- 
lute completion of a tree-trunk includes texture of bark, 
anatomy of muscle beneath it, reflected lights in recessed 
hollows, flickering varieties of cast shadows from foliage 
above, moss in different masses and lights, varied local colour 
over all and all facts about the trunk which can be expressed 
by the human hand. When that exhaustive statement of 
them is made, the tree is finished, and cannot be finished any 
more. It may have to be glazed and scumbled, and brought 
out and put back, and we know not what : but all this is 
sacrificing the tree more or less to the general effect of the 
picture. 

From this follows a partial answer to the naturally rather 
strong exclamations which painters and students may make, 
on reading what has gone before ; to the effect that they 
cannot be expected (at all events that it is no use expecting 
them) to finish all the trees in their pictures up to the same 
point. First, it may be answered, Anyhow, you ought to be 
able to finish some of them like this : if you are to paint 
trees, it will not do to issue any picture of them which may 
tell the world that you do not know or care about their 
anatomy, texture of bark, mosses, or reflected lights. Pho- 
tographs and Pre-Rafaelitism have opened the eyes of the 
public a little ; and people are gradually learning to look at 
Nature, and see more of what there is on a tree-trunk. The 
Claudesque symbols, without Claude's knowledge of oil- 
painting, will not pass now. Harding has taught people what 
trees are like, and you must at least give what he gives. This 
would be admitted, or considered as truism, by the greater 
part of the artistic and critical world. Men may be said, 
as a rule, to have not only adopted the whole teaching of 



HASTE. 217 

' Modern Painters,' but to have succeeded in convincing each 
other, by sheer vigour of assertion, that they knew it all 
before. Then secondly, which is the main point, it must be 
answered, that every one who has real title to the name of a 
painter, and indeed every one who has taken proper pains in 
previous studies for his picture, will know perfectly, before 
he sits down to the final and decisive canvas, that in certain 
places he must do his very utmost, and that there are parts 
where he may relax. All works must be unequal in comple- 
tion, even though done by men of determined character and 
powerful eyesight, whether their labours look brilliant or 
laboured in the end. For perfect finish, like Nature, is 
entirely beyond human power; and too intense pursuit of 
it may be too much for man as has been proved, we 
think, by some late works of Holman Hunt, and certainly 
by the example of Mr. Collins, who now, we believe, has 
almost ceased to paint, finding the toil of such works as 
Convent Thoughts, however beautiful in result, too wearying 
and exhausting. As we have said, Tintoret will paint his 
tree-trunks hastily ; but he will paint them right, as far as 
they go, and express his feeling of facts of form which he 
does not make out : and it does not follow, as all must 
feel, that Tintoret is to be followed in the accidents of his 
work, such as being hurried in it, or otherwise prevented from 
working out his details. He did them gloriously, when he 
had time. But he had not always time. And the fact that 
Titian always seems to have had it, and to have painted 
with a strange severity of power, taken with his patience of 
well-grounded and entire confidence, seems to make him a 

o 3 

better master and example to follow than Tintoret ; although 
the latter, as painter of the Paradise in the Doge's Palace, 
and the Crucifixion of the Scuola di San Rocco, stands, with 
Michael Angelo, at the heart and centre of all creative and 
artistic greatness. 

Now, there are what may be called elementary subjects 
for pictures, such as still life, fruit, and the like, which are 
proper work for a young artist at certain points of his 
career. He may, in short, find it advantageous to work at 
studies which are easily saleable, and which also increase 



2 1 8 ILL USTRA T1OX. 

his knowledge and skill. For it is clear that the study of 
flowers, and of fruit perhaps still more, is of the greatest 
use to the colourist ; and that the operations of hatching 
and stippling in colour give an idea of the value of almost 
imperceptible touches, which can be obtained in hardly any 
other way. We take for granted that a certain fair amount 
of skill and knowledge on this subject has already been 
obtained by practice in sepia. Our first exercise in laying 
on gradated tints, if carefully repeated a few times (not on 
different pieces of paper, but successively wash over wash), 
will give a good idea of the luminousness of plain black or 
grey properly applied. We will suppose that this has been 
acquired, and that the student has also learnt to put on 
touches with tolerable rapidity in the precise form he wants, 
and to correct all errors and mischances in a flat wash by 
proper use of hatched lines or stippled dots in light and 
shade. He has now to use colour in the same way, in its 
endless complications, and to hatch one hue over another or 
dot one into another. We can of course do no more than 
set him to work ; but we think the examples given will set 
him to work in the right way, or at least enable him to begin 
an useful course of practice, during which he will find right 
ways of his own. 

For the grapes in our illustration, they will suffice as an 
example, first of what can be done in a single application 
of hues without drying ; secondly of high completion of the 
processes of hatching and stippling. The meaning of these 
terms has already been explained : one consists in drawing 
very fine lines, which are generally crossed in three directions ; 
the other in filling up the interstices between those lines to 
exact evenness of tint. In short, the processes of high finish 
in colour are like those of light and shade, illustrated in our 
lithographs of pomegranate and apple ; except that the great 
additional difficulties of variety of colour are added to the 
work, and that the brush, a far more subtle instrument than 
the chalk, requires a finer eye and hand. It is well to have 
all the colours nicely rubbed on a palette before beginning. 
Smalt, ultramarine, and madder carmine may be reserved for 
highly experienced hands, and it will be well at first to begin 




FIRST COAT 




FINISHED IN Si 



Vincent Brcuks. Day? Snr,.!>i: 



PROF. RUSKIN'S APPLE. 219 

with cobalt, lake, or rose madder and Chinese white for the 
bloom side, and lake, with gamboge and a very little indigo, 
for the dark and transparent side, or for any spots where 
bloom may have been rubbed off. Whether you lay on 
the bloom first or the transparent side first is immaterial ; 
perhaps it is better to begin with the transparent and warmer 
tint, and take the blue-and-white into the brush as you go 
on. Lake and burnt sienna, with burnt umber, make a rich 
shade-tint, and background also, with a little indigo. If you 
are equal to elaborate finish, you may lay a foundation of 
the body-colour bloom all over the grape, and work over 
it when quite dry, painting the transparent colours firmly 
on to the blue. I have known this course taken by an 
admirable copyist of William Hunt. 

In any case, remember not to sit too near your work, or 
strain your eyes on it, for the over-excited nerves of sight fail 
to distinguish colour as they should. Remember that the 
fault in fine stippling is invariably too much force, the putting 
on too perceptible touches at a time ; and keep some clean 
blotting-paper beside you to drain the brush before you use 
it. For the faint tints of green observable here and there in 
W. Hunt's grapes, yellow ochre may be tried with the blue, 
or even the slightest touch of emerald : but either should be 
hatched on very delicately. 

The Slade Professor has given us the names of all the 
colours used in his brilliantly-painted apple gamboge, orange 
vermilion, rose-madder, sepia and cobalt : to be laid on, the 
lightest tints first, gamboge floated on all over in the first 
instance, and the scarlet and darker shades in succession. 
You will observe the graphic way in which the colours are 
put on, according to the stripes and special form and colour 
of the fruit. This will introduce you to the greatest difficulty 
and beauty of high finish, that is to say, to make the necessary 
hatchings take expressive forms which add to the ideal com- 
pleteness of the picture. Turner's water-colours on white 
paper are supremely beautiful examples in this respect. Of 
course his ingenuity in thus adding definition and effect to 
his work with the same touches was matter of great genius 
and vast experience ; but to observe and understand it such 



220 FINISH. 

pictures as Jericho, Mount Lebanon or Combe Martin cannot 
but be of the greatest value to every advanced student in 
landscape. 

These exercises in Finish will introduce you to the use of 
Body-colour; but a few more remarks on the subject will be 
found farther on. 



II. 

COPYING. 
(Especially in Body-colour from Turner's Sketches on Grey Paper.) 

ONE object of the preceding pages has been to reduce 
the amount of absolute Copying which the student 
will have to go through. Those who are sufficiently advanced 
in their work to make tolerable studies from Nature will find 
it of great use to them to make studies of parts of great 
pictures, so as to learn definite lessons of drawing and colour 
from them : but, as has been said or implied before, it is not 
worth the time or labour to copy a whole picture. To do it 
ill or indifferently is not worth the time and labour which are 
misspent in painful effort. To copy a whole picture well, 
requires power and effort which might be better employed. 
For instance, a careful student may study the wreath round 
the little faun's head in Nicolas Poussin's Dance of Satyrs, in 
the National Gallery, with advantage ; hardly with success 
until he has got pretty far ; but to elaborate the whole picture 
would require science something like Poussin's own. The 
best rule for copying is, we think, to make partial studies of 
interesting or useful parts of pictures, always for the sake of 
the labour, and of what is learnt by it, rather than for the 
result. Any one who has tried will remember how the 
interest and value of a good picture seems to double in the 
eye of a careful copyist ; so that some attempt at imitation 
is almost a necessity for any one who would really understand 
it. It is very easy to look at and to admire Titian's flesh- 
tint ; but a serious attempt to copy a hand and a bracelet, or 
a Doge's sleeve, from one of his portraits, will give the best 
idea of his consummate power which can be obtained. Studies 



222 TURNER'S IMITATIONS. 

of this kind are of great value to all painters ; but there is a 
way of studying a master without actual copying, which is 
especially well suited to landscape artists. It is Turner's 
system ; and seems to consist in imitating a master's treat- 
ment in colour, tone, and choice of effect, in parallel pictures 
(so to speak) from one's own stock of sketches or ideas. 
Turner never (perhaps) copied any one ; but he would choose 
subjects like those of Claude or Vandervelde, and paint 
pictures of his own in their manner till he had exhausted 
all which was to be learnt from them. This is of course a 
method of study which can hardly be carried out except by 
a highly trained workman who has mastered a technical 
system of painting, and can rely on his own precision in 
using the instruments of his craft. But even more than 
technical skill is required to practise this system. A power- 
ful and well-stored memory is absolutely necessary for it ; 
as well as that grasp of the student's own subject (or felicity 
in choosing it) which may enable him to learn from his master 
in doing his own work, and to produce a really original 
picture, as to facts, which is also a study from a master as to 
treatment. It is perfectly true that Turner's emulous imita- 
tion of Claude did him no good, and only held him back for 
a time from pursuing Nature his own way on the Yorkshire 
moors and on the rivers of France. But any one who will 
take up and try to imitate one or two of the simpler grey- 
paper drawings of Turner's hand, in his own style, will soon 
find himself learning fact after fact about Nature, and making 
step after step in skill of rendering her. The University of 
Oxford is particularly fortunate in possessing a progressive 
set of specimens of Turner's work, which has been selected 
for the use of students of landscape by the munificent donor, 
Prof. Ruskin. The pecuniary value of such a present is very 
large ; but its greatest value will not be felt till the study of 
Art is fairly recognized in Oxford, and these drawings are 
carefully analysed and lectured upon as standard works : for 
such in pure landscape they undoubtedly are. In common 
with the Rafael drawings, they form one of the most in- 
structive galleries in England : and now that they have been 
so admirably re-arranged for the benefit of the student, we 



GREY PAPER. 223 

may hope that some real progress in Art-study may be made 
in the University. 

The Turner sketches and incomplete drawings lead us to 
anticipate a few remarks which will have to be made about 
them in our chapter on Sketching from Nature, and to dwell 
a little on the word ' sketching.' There is a use and a misuse 
for every term in Art, or in anything else : and this participal 
substantive is no exception to the rule. We have said that 
Amateur Art is not inaccurate Art, but incomplete Art : and 
we state much the same thing in other words, when we say 
that sketching is not drawing a whole thing carelessly and 
hastily, but drawing the most important parts of a thing very 
attentively. This is specially illustrated by Turner's grey- 
paper works. Many of them seem to have been done on the 
spot. But the first thing in them which strikes any one who 
is practised in careful drawing is their precision and accuracy, 
rather than their speed or power. Ordinary observers are 
vaguely impressed by the latter, because they feel themselves 
at once unable to understand how the work was done. But 
when one begins in some degree to understand the processes, 
one observes, with grievous discouragement to one's hopes as 
a copyist, that almost every touch is the result of an unknown 
quantity of previous knowledge and practice. The first steps 
or processes are often clear enough. Turner mixed his sky- 
blue or his storm-grey, taking a little white with his black, co- 
balt, and light or Indian red. Or, if he had yellowish light to 
express, and wanted to warm his cool grey paper, he washed 
(probably) brown madder and white over it 1 . Then he laid 
on a set of ground-tints for the masses of his picture, with 
such quick suggestions of and preparations for forms to come, 
as his years of labour made easy to him. Copying will 
enable many, or all, to understand them, but very few will be 
able to imitate them. Then he took up his pen and filled it 
with liquid brown, and with it drew in all the forms he 
wanted, great and small : rapidly, accurately, mysteriously, in 
touches which told sometimes as outline, sometimes as parts 

1 The Turner-grey paper, now sold by most colour- makers, is almost always bluer 
and colder in hue than that actually used by the master. A preliminary wash of 
light-red and white thinly laid on will generally be found advisable. 



224 TOUCH. 

or spots of shade, irregular-looking enough till the local 
colour came on ; when they told as transparent shadow of the 
deepest tone and sharpest form. By this drawing in pen and 
ink over the ground-tints Turner secured a framework or 
skeleton to clothe with colour ; and the colour was put on in 
accurate and suitable forms, with no allowance for accident or 
variation from the well-considered first intention. Or if the 
colour was put on without ink-drawing under, it was put on 
in definite forms. If it was green it was put on in the form of 
trees or bushes, or patches, or sweeps of grassy ground ; if it 
was grey it went on as rock or cloud, or what not, in definite 
form. This is the great object of copying from Turner in his 
simpler works ; for where he really brings out the stores of his 
knowledge of Nature, it is almost impossible to copy him. 
The actual result, the copy one has made, is not successful, it 
hardly can be so : but the lessons one has gained in form and 
colour, and the building up and ruin of hills, and the growth 
and accidents of trees, and the form and rhythmic order of 
clouds, ought to be a regular step in advance on one's own 
course of study. 

The reason why neither Turner nor any other very great 
workman can be successfully copied is that rapid touches 
such as his, coming instantly from his brain t*> the paper or 
canvas, and laid on with all his workman's power of touch, 
cannot be imitated slowly, by mere attention and accuracy. 
It is so even in bare line. It is a matter of great difficulty at 
least, even with the use of the finest tracing-paper, pencils, or 
pens, to facsimile any involved lines in the ' Liber Studiorum ' 
plates. What they express may be stated in line, so to speak, 
with sufficient exactness ; but the freedom, the artful hesi- 
tation and play of the touch are not to be imitated. It is the 
old story about the fiddle and the fiddlestick. Eloquence and 
force, moral and mental, are not transferable qualities : and 
eloquence expressed by form and colour is precisely the same 
undefinable quality as eloquence of words, manners, and 
gesture. It is the personal gift of the individual man ; rightly 
called inspiration, in some minor sense of the word, simply 
because it is God's gift to him from the beginning, however 
wisely and hard he may have worked to improve it. Any 



TURNER AND NATURE. 22$ 

amount of instruction or enjoyment may be gained from the 
results of another man's inspiration ; the mental gain of true 
appreciation is incalculable ; but you cannot take another 
man's gift direct from him and make it your own. To read a 
man's speech attentively, to take note of its graces, to get up 
its matter, meaning, and purpose, to judge wisely, and in fact 
lovingly, of its truth and wisdom, all this is quite possible : and 
a good copyist will do all this with the easier works of Titian 
or Turner. But nobody except Titian or Turner could repeat 
the works ; and they were not men to repeat themselves. 

With Turner, the great thing seems to be, first to pass a 
fair space of time in studying, and trying to imitate, those 
expressive and designed touches all over his pictures, which 
look accidental, and are all planned form ; then to treat 
each work of his as if it were a book on natural history, 
and to try to verify its words in his Book of Reference. 
You have learnt, perhaps, to see Nature in Turner (many 
people decline taking the trouble). Then go out into the 
fields or woods, or wherever you can find a subject like 
some of his, and see if you can find Turner in Nature. 
Study him and verify him. Everybody has some idea of 
the flaming sunsets and chill bright dawns, and cataclysms 
of rain, and breathing heat of noon, which he set forth 
over and over again with ever-varied repetition. Everybody 
has sun and cloud and rain to look at, and may learn to look 
at them with the eyes of the Observer and Imitator. 

The real object of copying Turner's landscape is not so 
much to obtain facsimiles of his works, though that of course 
is desirable, nor to learn any particular method of treatment. 
It is to form an idea of what observation and imitation of 
Nature really are. His processes in body-colour are much 
like those used in oils, easily understood and followed in 
principle : the decisive and fully-understood outline, in itself a 
guide to all the forms in the picture, leaving nothing to 
chance, and filling the whole paper with the whole subject: 
then the masses in half tint and true tone : then a complete 
' signalement ' of all the forms in detail with the pen and 
colour almost always red or warm brown then the local 
colours put on in minute detail with endless knowledge of 

Q 



226 COPYING TINTORET. 

form, the darks more transparently, the lights more opaquely, 
then the higher and highest lights in thicker body colour : 
finally some figures or powerful markings in the immediate 
foreground to lead into the picture and throw all into distance. 
On white paper the process was generally inverted ; pale, 
clear, and broad shadows came on first, always with well 
designed and sharply-marked forms, and the details were 
painted into them in delicate colour. But the power of his 
pictures is in his knowledge of his subjects ; and such know- 
ledge is to be obtained, in some degree at least, by careful 
comparison of all natural features in which one's own eye 
takes pleasure with his coloured records of them. 

Our second chapter deals with copying from the antique as 
a means of study ; and of course it is not in itself a very lofty 
end. Any one who can really imitate a work worth copying, 
with success, must have power or skill which would be better 
employed in working direct from Nature, or in expressing 
thoughts of his own. Yet the function of the copyist would 
be an important one in Art if it were properly understood and 
rightly patronized. It is of no small importance that works 
like those of the Arundel Society should be published, which 
give a good notion as far as they can go, of the frescoes of 
Giotto and Ghirlandajo. The thoughts and the handiwork of 
men whom every painter honours in his heart are fast passing 
out of existence in the cities of Italy, and paintings of great 
historical value fare no better than the buildings which 
contain them. Many works of Tintoret in Venice are quite 
unknown and uninterpreted in England, e. g. all those in the 
church of S. Rocco. The great Last Judgment in the 
Madonna dell' Orto, and the Golden Calf in the same church, 
are known by name and by the description in ' Modern 
Painters ;' but we should not like to enquire into the number 
of educated English visitors who never find their way to a 
point so far from S. Mark's. Some better way than engraving 
might be found of preserving such record as is now possible, 
of these great works. Careful chalk or charcoal drawings well 
photographed would be of great value, and this country would 
have great cause to thank any good draughtsman who would 
labour on them : not to mention that he would gain such 



LIBER STUD1ORUM. 227 

training, in following Tintoret's work, as would greatly 
develop all the powers he possessed of his own. 

Pencil sketches and partially coloured studies, etchings and 
light-and-shade drawings, such as the contents of the Rafael 
Gallery at Oxford, are the real subjects for a student to copy ; 
and, as has been said, the educational worth of such collec- 
tions is a most important addition to their intrinsic value. 
They are the notes, and first thoughts, and tentative efforts of 
great masters, and shew all their favourite processes in rapid 
work. Especially they shew how great was the knowledge of 
form, the inventiveness of mind and precision of hand, which 
seems to have made them prefer hard-pointed pencil, or 
pen-and-ink drawing, and even the use of a steel or other 
especially sharp point on prepared paper. Learners can 
understand and appreciate the master's skill only when they 
see his processes from the beginning : and few moral lessons 
in Art are worth more, to one who is impatient in mind and 
hurried in touch, than long contemplation and careful copying 
of some of Rafael's partly shaded drawings in pen and ink. 
There is something in those exact and easy hatchings and 
crossed lines which gives one a feeling of the precision of the 
graver and the freedom of the brush in one. Rafael's 
sketches also give important lessons in delicate economy of 
shade. A study of a figure or limb by his hand, ever so 
carefully elaborated in form, and quite rounded into projection, 
has hardly a dark touch in it, and would tell in a picture as a 
mass of light. This is particularly instructive in these days of 
unmitigated ink, when Gustave Dore paints all abomination 
in its true tints of blackness. It is not our business here to 
say anything of this artist's works, or to enquire into the 
causes of his great popularity : nor are we inclined to dispute 
or diminish from his great and evil genius. But it must be 
said, that whatever power his pictures possess, they contain 
everything which we should wish our student to avoid. 

The chapter on Composition contains various references to 
Turner's sketches and drawings, and most persons will be able 
to verify one or more of them. We do not know that it is 
desirable to give a young landscape painter too many to look 
at at once. If he will take any of the annexed list of ' Liber 

Q 3 



228 BODY-COLOUR ON GREY. 

Studiorum ' plates which he fancies, and try to exhaust it 
thoroughly, by careful copying first in line, then repeatedly in 
light and shade, he will find himself fast gaining strength 
enough for real sketching from Nature 1 . 

We take the liberty of adding to these Rizpah and the 
Mer-de-Glace, for reasons which will be given in our descrip- 
tions, and because they are perhaps the most important of all 
in one great respect. They shew any plain person what 
impressive power is in landscape painting, and how great its 
appeal to passion, feeling, and thought may be. The Sen- 
sualist or late Renaissance School, which is fast rising at the 
present day, with evil omen for Art, appeals to impure 
emotions of various kinds and shades, simply for the sake of 
power ; and adopts M. Taine's philosophical criticism, which 
extols the artistic power of Impurity, in the days of the Re- 
naissance. Such plates as these two, or Cephalus and Procris, 
arouse all the nobler forms of those passions which are now 
appealed to in their corruptness by images of sensuality and 
cruelty. 

A few remarks are left for us to make on the subject of 
body-colour. It may best be studied from the works of 
three men, specimens of which are accessible to most 
students : from Turner's works on grey, from Mr. Lewis's 
(which are generally on warm-tinted paper, suited to his 
favourite Eastern or Spanish subjects), and from the drawings 
of the late W. Hunt. It is of course necessary to use body- 
colour, in the mere sense of mixing white with one's colours, 
whenever the tints have to be laid on coloured paper, as 
otherwise the ground-colour destroys the transparent hues. 



1 Mr. Ruskin's list of the best plates for study in the ' Liber Studiorum ' is as 
follows : 

Grande Chartreuse. Calais Pier. Hedging and ditching. 

CEsacus and Hesperie. Pembury Mill. Dunblane Abbey. 

Cephalus and Procris. Little Devil's Bridge. Morpeth. 

Source of Arveiron. Holy Island. Alps from Grenoble. 

Ben Arthur. Clyde. Raglan. 

Watermill. Lanffenbourg. 

Hind-head Hill. Blair Athol. 

The autotype edition is generally accessible, and the original drawings are at South 
Kensington. 



PREPARATION FOR OILS. 229 

And most artists mix white with their sky, cloud, and 
distance colours in landscape painting with great advantage, 
as it gives bloom and aerial effect. But body-colour is an 
intermediate stage of painting between water-colour and oils ; 
and we had rather our student should take pure water-colour 
and regular oil-painting one at a time. Oil-painting is, 
generally speaking, the converse of water-colour in its prin- 
ciple of operation ; inasmuch as the darker shadows are laid 
on first, in transparent under-colours, and opaque lights are 
painted over them. In body-colour work, one is prepared 
for oil practice, and learns how to combine transparent 
and opaque hues : besides, in following Turner's carefully 
fully designed touches as we have described, a habit is formed 
of always seeking to express character, and give significant 
form to every touch or group of touches one puts on ; and, as 
we have always held, that habit is the foundation of all 
original painting. In short, a rather advanced water-colourist 
will do well to use body-colour as we have suggested, and 
glide from its use into that of oil by slow degrees. But our 
principle in water-colour is to rely only on ' left ' forms ; 
designed by the mind and drawn by the brush : and to hew 
forms gradually out, with preconceived purpose, leaving 
nothing to accident, or 'taking out,' or painting over with 
opaque colour. All that may do for a master of water- 
colour ; though our ideal water-colourist will be able to do 
without it : and Turner always did without it, on white paper. 
As a learner, one should hold by pure water-colour, and 
never lose semi-transparency, at most ; making no allowance 
for change of purpose or for alteration. Indeed, the great 
temptation of body-colour is that one is apt to think that 
anything may be changed or concealed by it. And it ought 
not to be used for that purpose by any student ; because 
colours are put into his hands that he may draw forms 
rightly ; and he ought not to think of hiding his mistakes by 
thick plasters of Chinese white. A few points to his leaves 
with cadmium and white ; some fringes of foreground grass, 
or draggings and hatchings to give texture to his rocks and 
stones, or some good mist and cloud forms rapidly swept over 
a dark distance, are excusable : but in some of these a slight 



230 NO CHANGE. 

touch of oil-colour, for the bright points will generally do 
better. In fact, for real study of real form, we recommend 
body-colour : it is necessary if we are to follow Turner, Hunt, 
and Lewis, as every painter ought to follow them. But it 
was meant to be used skilfully and not unskilfully : a man 
should be something of a workman before he deals with it : 
and for mending and altering we object to it altogether 1 . 

1 Our views about the selection of masters for the student are expressed at the 
end of the Historical Sketches in Part I. 



CHAPTER V. 



FIRST LESSONS IN OIL-PAINTING. 

WE have treated the study of Water-colour in this man- 
ual rather as a preliminary to that of Oil-painting 
than as an end in itself. This is simply because the latter 
is on the whole a more powerful means of expressing one's 
ideas, or realizing natural objects, than the former. It is im- 
possible to say which is easier and which the more difficult, 
indeed, what we have just said about the comparative 
power of the two vehicles of painting may be disputed ; and 
those who have opportunities of seeing the water-colours of 
Mr. Lewis, or of Mr. Burne Jones, will not be likely to let 
it pass uncontradicted. And the modern English Landscape 
School, which is undoubtedly the central one in the world, 
and may be said to be, at present 1 , the most . progressive 
branch of Art in existence, owes everything to water-colour. 
Water-colour, again, has gained from Pre-Rafaelitism. It is 
useless to insist on the admitted imperfections of a system 
which encourages rapid sketching, and even admits of con- 
siderable slightness and thinness in finished works. It is 
clear that modern out-door drawings in water-colour have 
enormously increased and popularised the knowledge of 
Nature ; and that they prove how intimate is the connexion 
between Nature and Art, between the well-stored memory 
of the painter and the speed and precision of his hand in 
his various processes. But this great importance of water- 
colour sketching and study from Nature is one reason why 
water-colour should be a preliminary to oils : since the 

1 Written in 1868. 



232 TURNER'S WATER-COLOURS. 

slighter and more rapid work should come first to store and 
enrich the memory : for water-colour information, so to 
speak, is always useful and valuable for oil-painting, while 
skill in oil is less available with water. It will hardly be 
disputed that people should begin with what they learn most 
from in the easiest way. In landscape, there can be no doubt 
that water-colour is this easier way ; though in strong hands 
it may well be that it is the more powerful way also. 
Turner's water-colours of eighteen inches by twelve, give 
ideas of power which even he never surpassed in oil : but 
it would be very rash in any student to refuse attention to 
oil in the hope of emulating such works as Llanthony, or 
Goldau, or the S. Gothard. Indeed, Turner's extraordinary 
power with solid or opaque colour could hardly have been 
matured without the help of his vast practice in oil. There 
is no doubt that any one who labours on exact principles, 
faithfully meaning and wishing to be able to realize as far 
as he can, will find that he can realize further in oil than 
by other means : we say further, because the power of oil- 
colour carries the impression further by sheer force of pro- 
pulsion. Oil and varnish impress colour on the eye far 
more strongly than water, unless it be in fresco. The 
shiny or apparently wet surface enhances colour in a very 
powerful way. which we cannot now stop to account for. 
It is enough to say here, that all our training must be in 
the direction of clearness and realization, and the vehicle 
which realizes with the greatest clearness must go first. A 
great painter may refuse us clearness in his work, give us 
obscurity in its proper place ; or he may deny us realization 
for good reasons of his own. But it will never be because 
he has not learned to make his smaller forms out decisively, 
or draw his larger ones clearly. We try to educate pupils 
to do things and not to leave them out, to finish to the 
utmost by adding truths in detail. When they are able 
to do this, we must needs leave it to them to use their 
science, in sure hope that they will not resign the univer- 
sally understood power which accuracy infallibly gives every 
one who possesses and can shew it. 

But oil-painting has this further advantage, that its re- 



EASE, SO CALLED. 233 

suits, if fairly treated, will last almost for ever, and in 
many respects gain from the touch of time. This, it is 
true, does not make them more valuable as works of Art 
once completed : but it has a tendency to make the young 
artist, at least, more careful in an oil-picture ; and so to 
give himself a better chance of real success. Generally 
speaking, men work at fuller stretch of their powers in 
oil than in water-colour. They take more time, they are 
more certain and deliberate with their processes ; they are 
less liable to be distracted with accidental results, good or 
bad. As to the difficulty of real success, both vehicles are 
about even. Our early lessons will have given a student 
some idea of the difficulty of a large flat wash of water- 
colour, properly gradated. The method of the late W. 
Turner is there given as he taught it to all his pupils ; 
and many of his works bear witness to its excellence. But 
all his pupils will remember how he, the coolest, most subtle 
and methodical of extensive-landscape painters, constantly 
found accidents, of materials and the like, interfere with 
his work : and how often it had to be repeated even when 
successful, till his first pale purples and faint yellows deep- 
ened and brightened into transparent luminous-perspective. 
His skies and distances had a delicacy and power which 
is scarcely attainable in oil-work, from the shininess of 
surface which it always involves more or less : but such 
gain of power would not make up, in most men's eyes, 
for the additional command of depth and brightness gained 
in oil throughout the rest of a picture. The common 
notion that ' oil-colour is easier than water-colour, because 
you can alter anything you like,' deserves as much clipping 
and turning as common notions generally do. Of course 
it is easy to smear anything out: and it is an advantage 
to be able to do so without spoiling one's ground, so as 
to be ready for a new attempt. But in as far as the pos- 
sibilities of patching and mending tempt the student to 
begin any work before he really knows what he is going 
to do so far the practice of oil will be found dangerous 
to him, and is wrong for him. It does not follow that 
because you have great advantages for rubbing out a thing 



2 34 AL TERA TIONS. 

when it is wrong, you will therefore be able to paint it 
in again right. The real advantages of oil in the matter 
of alteration will be considered. They are very great in 
landscape especially, as any impression of coloured light may 
be given by transparent glazing, and any idea of mist or 
aerial perspective (so called), easily conveyed by scumbling 
with solid colour. In oil-colour, as in all good work whatever, 
the effort should always be to do the thing rightly at 
first, striking it off once and for all. There must always 
be long preparation in the way of thought and acquisition 
of knowledge : there must be sufficient technical knowledge 
of processes and materials. Studies of parts or of the whole 
of a work may be made beforehand, if it be necessary: in 
fact, the painter ought to have been collecting materials 
for his picture long before he begins it, and to have thought 
over its treatment enough to be able to see his way 
through it. Having done such justice to his subject in 
preparation, he will want no more than correct outlines to 
guide him when he brings it to canvas : and will be able 
to paint things in with a full mind and a full brush. 

Of course there is a difference between altering an idea 
or thought, so as to make it necessary to insert or leave 
out a figure or detail, and altering and patching to mend 
mistakes in drawing or colour. But the conception of a 
picture should be as little altered as possible in any case, 
and that is a greater work cceteris paribus which clings 
more closely to its original design. 

Every one knows the virtue of quick touches ; though 
the number of those who feel the difference between quick 
touches right and quick touches wrong is unfortunately 
much smaller. And the advantage of oil, as we see it, 
seems to be that it involves more careful preparation and 
better previous instruction than water-colour, as the trouble 
of preparation is greater ; also, that it allows less excuse 
for slight work. It was noticed at a late water-colour 
exhibition, that the drawings which were sent there by 
professed oil-painters were on the whole superior to those 
by professed water-colourists. The reason was of course 
that oil-painting is more ' professional,' and implies more 



PREP A RA TION. 235 

complete training (for the most part) than water-' drawing : ' 
and this is reason enough for taking water-colour as the 
preliminary, in a treatise for the use of not very far ad- 
vanced students. 

In point of fact, it is as much more difficult to use oil, 
as it is more difficult to get a clean line, exact form, and 
minute pointed touch with a hoghair brush than with a fine 
sable. Fine brushes may of course be used in oil-colour, 
even with turpentine and colour, as if with water. But the 
effect of such touches in finishing will depend almost abso- 
lutely on the broader work which has gone before. And 
through all the process, from the charcoal outline to the 
last touches which force out the foreground into relief, the 
advantage or the want of elementary training in form will 
assuredly make itself felt. We have drawn no line as to 
the time which must be given to elementary drawing in the 
first instance ; but there are few artists who do not find 
much advantage in returning to it at intervals, either in the 
way of life-study or drawing from the cast. But the ex- 
citement which must seize on all ordinary persons as soon 
as they begin to see their ideas partly realized and actually 
coming into existence in a picture is both real and trying : 
and the number of minor ideas and processes which con- 
tribute to make up the general effect is very large and 
confusing : and the difference will soon be felt between the 
well-trained eye and mind, which virtually sees every form 
before the hand has put it on the canvas, and the uncer- 
tain half-trained touches which prove that the mind has 
not really settled what it means the hand to do, but has 
trusted to the chapter of accidents, and is letting the hand 
wander in hope of a suggestive blot. There is probably 
only one recorded example in ancient Art which is faith- 
fully followed by our rapid performers at the present day ; 
it is Protogenes' painting the foam. Many a brush is dashed 
unmeaningly against paper or canvas in the desperate hope 
of getting something out of nothing some suggestive form 
to help the idle eye or exhausted invention. Time and 
thought, careful studies beforehand, and the determination, 
methodically carried out, never to put on an unmeaning 



236 PRIMING A CANVAS. 

form, or use a glaze or a scumble 1 without a reason : these 
things will enable a man to do his best, and improve that 
best with every picture. 

But it is time to set our student to work. We have given 
him a training in light and shade, and some information about 
colours, as used with water ; and some practice in using them 
in still-life objects. If he has not hitherto used oil-brushes or 
colour, he had better copy some easy cast in monochrome, 
as follows, to get used to the tools. Let him get a correct 
outline in chalk on a mill-board or prepared block ; and fix it 
with a small brush and turpentine : then let him go over the 
whole surface with a thin glaze of raw umber and cobalt, with 
a little white and medium, which will have the effect of brown 
transparent shadow : then let him paint into that glaze all his 
half-tints of light, in flake white and umber, blending it into 
the transparent shade. He may then put on his high lights 
and, if necessary, reinforce his shades a little with transparent 
colour ; but it will be safest to let the first painting dry, then 
to glaze it again all over with transparent shade ; and then 
paint in the lights somewhat higher a second time. Two or 
three coatings thus put on will accustom the pupil to the use 
of the tools ; which differs from water-colour mainly in this, 
that the point of the brush is but little used, the colour being 
laid sideways for the most part, as in charcoal drawing. We 
will begin a landscape with him : postulating for him that it 
shall be from a sketch of his own, or at least that he has seen 
the subject, and has a sketch of it before him ; that he shall 
have thought it over carefully, and indeed made studies of 
important parts ; and that he shall have before him a warm 
whitish canvas on an easel in a good north light, if possible ; 
at all events with the main light coming from above. 

Then let him consider the amount of time and patience he 
has at his disposal, which will depend greatly on the interest 
he takes in his subject. 

If he feels strong enough to try to elaborate it thoroughly, 
by a regular first, second, and third painting, he may proceed 
at once on his canvas, prepared as it is by the colourman. 

1 To glaze is to rub a coat of transparent colour, mixed with medium, over your 
canvas ; to scumble is to use partly opaque colours and white, in the same way. 



PRIMING A CANVAS. 237 

But if he has only time for one painting, or is only making 
an oil-sketch, it will be best to 'prime' his canvas with an 
extra-thick coat of warm white. It will give him good 
texture to work on just as important a matter in oils as in 
water-colour and it will prevent the colours sinking into the 
canvas when drying, and make them bear out as brightly as 
on paper. In this case proceed as follows : 

Mix a little cadmium or yellow ochre, and pink madder, 
with a great deal of flake white, and two or more drops of 
turpentine, in proportion to the size of the canvas. The more 
turpentine the faster all dries : it will probably be best to use 
as much as will leave the coat of ' priming ' soft enough to be 
smoothed nicely with the handkerchief. Use no megilp where 
the sky is to come, or anywhere unless you want shininess of 
surface ; to which we ourselves strongly object, except in calm 
water, &c. If you have rich sunset or bright autumn tints in 
your mind, make your mixture, or part of it, warmer and 
brighter : in any case the result should be a warm white, light 
yellow or pinkish. It depends on your full knowledge of 
what you mean to do, whether you should give any forms 
in grounding a picture thus. Much may be done by using 
transparent shade over a warm ground, or by painting local 
colour and detail over a ground of light ; and vice versA by 
painting into ground-shade, which is Our principle. All 
depends on your hold of your facts. In all early work, 
abide strenuously by your first intention, I may say right or 
wrong. ' Error (or imperfect arrangement) persevered in be- 
comes success.' Prepare enough warm white to cover your 
canvas, and paint it thickly on with a hoghair brush. 

This done, take a clean fine napkin or old pocket-handker- 
chief, and fold it lightly together, corners inwards, into a 
baggy shape, loose but smooth (something like the ' balls ' or 
dabbers which are used to apply the ink to the types in a 
printing-press) . Then beat the coat of warm white with very 
light repeated blows over its whole surface till it is perfectly 
even and equal all over. The lighter the strokes the finer the 
texture, but a certain amount of roughness where sky and 
distance are to come will do rather good than harm. 

When this coat is quite dry, and your outline is drawn on 



BROAD MIDDLE TINTS. 

it in charcoal lines which fully express to your understanding 
all the principal forms and shades of your picture, take a 
small sable with a little turpentine, blow away nearly all 
your charcoal, and fix the lines by passing the brush over 
them. We like to draw our distances in with smalt and 
turpentine, and our foregrounds with red. Have by you 
a study or etching of principal lines, on which you can rely 
when your outline is lost as the coatings of colour are 
laid on. 

It is useless to begin before you have settled finally what 
and how much space shall be covered by your broader 
shadows, and consequently where your main lights are to 
come. 

The main processes in an oil-picture, especially in land- 
scape, seem to be expressible thus in the shortest way. 
Lay on 

1. Middle tint of shade (transparent). 

2. Middle tint of light (opaque), and blend by painting 

over while wet. 

3. ' Paint up ' your lights as bright as you please, or as you 

can ; not by use of violent tints, but in grammatical 
light and shade. Sharp opaque touches. 

4. Brighten all by putting in the reserved strong darks. 

Turner's cypresses, or the figures in Rogers' ' Poems ' 

and ' Italy,' are wonderful examples of reserved force 

and its use. Sharp transparent touches. 

Of course when the picture is dry, between any of these steps 

you can draw forms in, to guide your further operations, with 

white or other chalk. You ought to have a study at hand of 

how you mean to treat your sribject, as well as a sketch in line 

or light and shade of the facts of the subject you mean to 

treat 1 . Let the sky and distance alone for the present. 

1 Colours to be arranged on your palette, say in this order : 
SeViite } (these in larger quantity.) 

As also 

Cobalt* Light red. 

* Ultramarine ash is often preferable to cobalt, unless a very definite blue (as of 
blue sky) is wanted. It produces beautiful green-greys. 



PIGMENTS. 239 

When your mind is made up, first rub some megilp medium, 
with a little transparent brown colour, umber, madder, x or 
what you will in it, over all the shadow-space ; then paint or 
rub your broad shadows over the whole space they are to 
cover, disregarding everything except their outer forms or the 
lights you mean to leave within them. For pure light and 
shade use brown madder and cobalt mixed up with enough 
white to give consistency, yet not enough for opacity. Rub 
it on thinly and lay it as evenly as possible : if it lies too 
thickly where the full brush first touched, or elsewhere, take 
a clean one and spread it till you have a transparent coat of 
shade wherever you want it. Remember this rule throughout 
your work, ' Transparent shades and solid lights.' Also, ' No 
megilp to be used in sky or extreme distance.' You can thin 
your tint with turpentine. For storm-shadows use light red 
and cobalt, with white ; deepen with black if you will : or on 
deep mountain-shades with purple madder, or on sea-surface 
with Antwerp blue, both in the smallest quantities. They 
have a very beautiful effect in moderation, and a thoroughly 
destructive one in excess. Vandyke brown is the best of all 
ground-shadows for the nearest parts of a picture. 

Your canvas is now half-covered, and sufficiently dolorous 
in its appearance. Look well at your study and line-sketch : 
consider what pitch of shade you have now put on, that is to 
say, how many degrees of light and shade above or below it 
you want to have in your picture. You ought to have quite 
settled what scale of light and shade, or, as painters say, what 
tone, you mean to have throughout your picture. We call a 
dark picture deep-toned, if there be sufficient gradation in its 
darkness ; for darkness and depth are very different things. 
We call a bright picture clear-toned, or light in tone, if it 
consist principally of masses of well-gradated light, with 

Ultramarine ash. Vandyke brown (enough). 

Smalt. Yellow ochre. 

Antwerp blue (a very little). Raw sienna. 

Brown madder (enough), Gamboge. 

Purple madder (enough). Burnt sienna. 

Rose madder. Emerald green. 

Have a little turpentine by you; and -use rather large flat hoghair brushes at first; 
red sables afterwards. 



240 DISTANCE. 

only a few strong darks used to get brightness by con- 
trast. According as you economize the darks or force 
them, or, in other words, as you work by gradations of light 
or gradations of darkness, you will be following the system 
of Rembrandt or that of Turner and the general effect of 
your picture will be deep or luminous accordingly. Much 
may be done by after-glazings or scumblings to deepen 
or lighten the general pitch of shade : but of course it is far 
better to be right, or nearly right, at first. So now mix a 
middle tint for your lights, that is to say, one which shall 
stand in bright relief against your shades, yet admit of 
blending with them ; and which shall be dark enough to leave 
you the power of putting on high lights with telling effect 
towards the close of your labours. Always keep a good 
reserve of force both in light and shade for the end of the 
work, so as to 'come with a rush' in finishing the picture. 
Before beginning to paint any form on a dry canvas or 
painting, it is almost always necessary to rub on some megilp, 
tinted with transparent colour (as brown madder), to paint 
into : clean forms are impossible without it. This must be 
the first thing done on the canvas in every day's painting. 
Poppy oil may be substituted if the shininess of the megilp 
be disagreeable. 

Extreme distance. Effect of light. 

Pink or yellowish light (as cumulus clouds in evening or 
. morning sunshine, or distant hills where local colour is 
merged in light) : 

rrose or pink madder predominating, 
Mix <; with a little cobalt or ultramarine-ash, and 

Lwhite. 

You may add, or glaze afterwards with, a little raw 
sienna, without megilp ; turpentine may be used 
instead. 
Detail afterwards, with 

rose madder and ultramarine ash, or 
smalt pure, or with white. 

Clear shadows in extreme distance (telling as light in the 
whole tone of the picture) : 



TURNER'S WORK ON GREY. 241 

rultramarine ash or cobalt predominating, 

Mix J r Se madder 

] the least possible amount of yellow ochre, 

I white. 

Detail with ultramarine ash or smalt, and white. 
White is to be used with everything in distance, and medium 
to be banished entirely, if possible. 

As to glowing or coloured light, it may be glazed on 
afterwards to your heart's content with more forcible colours. 
Cadmium and the chromes, malachite, chromium and emerald 
greens ; cerulium and ultramarine, extract of vermilion, car- 
mine and all the brighter madders excellent colours all are 
meant for masters rather than for pupils. But if you have 
laid your ground with provident foreknowledge of your subject, 
the effect will be likely to be one not to be sacrificed for the 
sake of florid colour. Subdued and mysterious glow, like 
some of Linnell's work, is the best aim of a young landscape 
colourist : and it is best obtained by having the glow under, 
painting over, and so toning it down, with mysterious detail 
and distant shadow. 

Those who have access to any of Turner's simpler works 
on grey paper will find it of the greatest use to make one or 
two very careful copies or studies from them before beginning 
oil colour. His process seems to have been almost the same 
as that which is regularly taught to students of oil-painting 
in our National Art-Schools. It has been partly described 
above : first came his middle tints of shade, all the darker 
masses of his composition, painted on at great speed, but 
with an attention to form which shews how thoroughly pre- 
meditated the whole work was in his mind. These masses of 
shade came first, done in rather transparent body-colour, with 
just enough white in it to make the tints bear out from the 
grey paper. Then he went over the whole with pen and 
colour, marking in forms of detail and accenting the corners, 
outlines, and small deep darks of his whole picture. Then he 
took up his lights in thick body-colour with extraordinary 
attention to form, putting on the light sides of a whole forest 
of trees, for instance, and leaving the grey of the paper to 

R 



242 FOREGROUND OBJECTS. 

stand for their shaded side. Then he settled his highest 
lights, and gradated everything up to them : then he put in 
figures or near objects which threw everything Jnto aerial 
distance, and often furnished one or two touches of bright 
local colour: and then came a cypress or plough,. or some 
broad form and shadow, which threw everything somehow into 
its place. 

Page 245 will contain a list of a few middle-distance tints, 
which will serve in foreground, if you keep the shades dark 
and transparent, in Vandyke brown ; and if your lights are 
well denned and solid. 

Your canvas is now fairly covered with what amounts to a 
rather advanced ' first painting.' It may now be left to dry 
thoroughly, for two or three days. Meanwhile, it will be best 
to look well at old sketches, photographs, or anything which 
refreshes your memory or stimulates your thoughts about the 
scene you are working at. Your mind has done with the 
composition of its picture, and must now take in a store of 
minor facts for detail. So if you have a hill-side covered with 
trees in your picture, store your mind with tree-forms from a 
photograph, or from Nature, or go and study one of Turner's 
forests : the same of course with rocks or clouds, or what you 
will. You must now settle (unalterably, if possible, which is 
not often the case) what your foreground shall be, whether 
you will have incidents or figures, or leave the scene to itself. 
On this last matter, the plain truth is that a landscape student 
had better let figures alone till he can paint them. Still, 
turf-carts on a moor, white jackets and blue petticoats, with 
red faces and legs, are admissible though I should prefer a 
few grouse basking among sand ; or a fox or wild cat. Eagles 
and red deer have become conventional, and so I regret to 
say have herons ; so if drawn they must be well drawn. In 
Swiss scenery, well-studied flowers, such as Alpine roses on 
the lower ground, and gentians higher up, are better than any 
attempt at figures. Of course in either Scottish or Swiss 
landscape, if you can put in a brown bull, with lights to mark 
the weather-bleached curls of yellow shagginess on his thick 
neck and shoulders ; and if you have feeling enough to call 
attention to his short forelegs, and horns, his wild eye, and 



RESERVED DARK TOUCHES. 243 

nostril of scorn especially if you have a sketch of your own 
which reminds you somewhat of such points he will do 
credit to a place in or near your foreground. But in propor- 
tion as you feel weaker, you must put him farther off. The 
eternal camel cannot be kept out of an Eastern scene, if it be 
in Egypt or the Desert (he is not wanted in Syria, but no one 
has courage to omit him) and he is easy to draw, as his 
characteristic points are so strongly marked. Lewis's are 
best of all as models ; the drawing of the Wells of Moses near 
Suez, now at South Kensington, is a standard work repre- 
senting almost everything that has to do with the Desert 
camel. But whatever you put in foreground, while your first 
painting is dry, draw your forms in detail upon it with chalk, 
black or white. You can try the effect of figures or animals, 
&c., by cutting out paper 'silhouettes' of their form and general 
tint of colour, and sticking them on the picture for a while ; 
or use soft coloured chalks. 

You will now go over your picture again with higher lights 
and brighter colours: though the object is not so much to 
raise part or the whole of the picture to intense brightness, as 
to have plenty of true gradations between your lightest and 
your darkest. And here you will find previous water-colour 
training of great value, for your object now is sharp form : 
varied and delicate it ought to be also, but keen and decisive 
it must be. The object of all the school and book training 
you have gone through, and also of all your out-door sketch- 
ing, has been to enable you to remember the natural forms 
you want, to know them correctly at the needful time, to 
anticipate and see your way through every process and touch 
in representing them. Think well therefore over every form, 
make good use of your chalk outlines, and then paint your 
forms in steadily, yet with quick touches. The dark trans- 
parent colours had better go on first, all over the given form 1 . 
In the brown bull, for instance, you would paint him all over 
quite flat with Vandyke brown ; then you would take yellow, 
white and red, and paint his lights over; finally purple or 
black, and put the last few dark touches, which ought to be 
the most forcible and expressive of all. And if he were 

1 See footnote, however, p. 245. 
R 3 



244 FOREGROUND. 

white, part of him would still be in shade, and the whole 
ought first to be painted in the more or less transparent grey, 
of the darkest shade, and then to be brought out by thick, 
well-defined touches on muscles and locks of hair drawn 
sharply in warmer or cooler white. So with rocks or massed 
trees in middle-distance : paint in the light sides on the ground- 
shade with the greatest effort at sharp form, and a few darks 
will complete all necessary detail. With the water-colour 
foreground you were advised to put on your lightest and 
brightest pink first, all over your mass of heather, let us say ; 
and then to hew the form out of it with the darker colours of 
the stems and leaves. With oil you will find it best to put on 
first the general coat of transparent dark *, and paint on the 
light forms, thick and bright ; lighter perhaps than you 
want them, to allow for after glazing. Last of all put in the 
reserved darks with all their force ; let them be perfectly 
transparent and decisive in form. ' Full of meaning ' is the 
highest praise of all, for the picture as a whole and for all 
parts of it, and every one of the last darks ought to speak, as 
it were. And if the lights are sharply touched, and there is 
right and grammatical gradation, the whole canvas will kindle 
and expand as the strong darks throw distance back on 
distance. 

As to finish, enough was said of it in the chapter on Water- 
colour. As has been said, to finish is to add facts, especially 
in the foreground, where the eye looks for them. Oils and 
water-colour are much the same as to the pigments used ; and 
correct drawing is the same thing in one vehicle as in the 
other. The difference is in the use of opaque lights in oil, 
and the modelling processes which they require ; a beginner 
also requires caution in the use of green, as the tendency is 
almost always to get the bright shades of that colour. But 
any one who has learnt enough of gradation, form, and sur- 
face, in water-colour, will find himself blending and modelling 
with some spirit, by the time he has got through the first 
painting of his first canvas. He has the facts, and can make 
his picture state them for him, from horizon to foreground. 
' The distance and the middle-distance had this general effect, 
1 See footnote, however, p. 245. 



MIXED TINTS. 245 

and so much detail was visible in them, in the confusion of 
space and aerial perspective look in my lights and you will 
see. The foreground had such and such stones lying about it, 
granite or slate or gneiss, broken here and lichened there, 
lying points up, wedged in old moraine, or like smooth stones 
of ancient rivers before the day of man look and see. And 
there were ferns in the shaded places, with curling buds and 
hairy stalks, and heather in clusters of purple spikes, all with 
strange subtle curves of their own, all in fine intricate detail 
beyond what I can shew : but in a plain way I shew all I 
can look and see.' 

It has seemed on the whole better to put this short sketch 
of oil-colour processes before our chapters on Composition 
and Sketching from Nature. No more is attempted than to 
set the student to work on a coherent system, and with a few 
colours. As he advances in power, he is sure to vary his 
methods. 

Texture may be secured by scraping the dry surface of 
your work with an old razor ; or by dabbing it over lightly 
while wet, as in grounding the canvas at first. 

MIXED TINTS IN MIDDLE DISTANCE AND FOREGROUND. 

Greys. 

Storm grey Light red and cobalt, deepened with black. ) Mix with 
Calm gray (faint) Brown madder and cobalt. j white. 

TOWARDS FOREGROUND. 

Greens. 
Spring and early Summer: Burnt sienna, Prussian-blue, with strontian 

yellow, raw sienna, or ' aureolin.' 
Heighten lights with emerald green and chromes. 
Deepen with Prussian-blue, Indian red, and gamboge. 
Autumnal Shades .-Raw sienna, light red, brown madder, and cobalt ; 
Prussian-blue, Indian red, gamboge. 
Heightened with cadmium, chromes, and vermilion ad libitum. 

FOREGROUND. 

Vandyke brown under. Paint over in sharp form with solid local colours. 
But it will probably be best, as you gain decision and power, to paint 
your foregrounds on the water-colour principle: laying down the 
richest and brightest hues first all over, and cutting forms out of 
them with the shade. 



246 FRENCH OIL-PAINTING. 

As the French schools of oil-painting, both in landscape 
and history, have, now so much influence over English art, the 
writer thinks it advisable to insert a few remarks here on 
some of their methods and principles, that is to say, on those 
which have given him the greatest satisfaction. Those who 
wish to go more fully into the subject will find it ably dis- 
cussed in Mr. Hamerton's Essays, and other works, and 
specimens of characteristic masters, such as Corot and Dau- 
bigny, are by no means difficult of access in this country. 
What is said here is based on a limited acquaintance with 
French landscape art, and especially on the conversation and 
instructions of his friend, M. Legros, who appears, perhaps, of 
all men best qualified as interpreter or mediator between 
educated students of art on the French and English side. 
The deficiencies or sacrifices, or renouncements so to speak, 
of French Landscape are well-known. They consist of a 
narrow choice of subject and a restricted scale of colour. It 
would be alike unwelcome to the present writer, and useless 
to his readers, to dwell on these as faults ; or to refer to 
the other errors of the French school, which seem to him 
inseparably connected with national and personal character 
and history. The ideas and methods of M. Legros, with which 
he is partly acquainted, have been chosen as representing what 
must appear, to the English mind, the highest qualities of 
French easel-painting. 

In the first place, as has been so often observed, the French 
artist is invariably well-trained in drawing the figure. See Mr. 
Armitage's remarks in Chap. II. His sense of accuracy and 
defined perfection of form is therefore directed entirely to 
historical painting, and when he takes to landscape his work 
is governed almost entirely by human association. He seeks, 
as Turner did, to paint his impressions, though they are not, 
of course, like Turner's the impressions of a most passionate 
mind entirely devoted to landscape, roused by landscape- 
beauty to its fullest action, and acting with the tone of 
Tintoret and the precision of Rafael entirely on Landscape. 
But as far as the Frenchman cares to go, he is accurate and 
skilful, perfectly sincere and unaffected, absolutely master of 
his tools and thoroughly aware of what he is going to do. 



FRENCH LANDSCAPE. 247 

He will not willingly dispense with figures in his landscape, 
but they will always look as if they belonged to it and it to 
them ; they will interpret their background, give it interest, 
and derive interest from it 1 . Again, his perfect education in 
drawing with both hard and soft point does enable him to use 
his brush with extreme dexterity and trenchant rapidity in 
characteristic touch. He gives suggestive sense of form 
without much ' making out ' in leaf, cloud, and water drawing : 
he does it with the rapidity of genuine emotion well under- 
stood, and not felt by any means for the first time, yet once 
more probably enjoyed and keenly expressed. Hence his 
landscape, as far as his subjects go, is highly intellectual as 
well as emotional, because it approximates to containing the 
greatest number of ideas in the smallest number of touches. 
This may be said of M. Legros with probable justice, since 
the elaboration of his portrait faces is equalled by the 
trenchant rapidity of his backgrounds. They may go far, or 
not go far ; but to find an error in drawing or colour 
(according to his scale of either) would be extremely difficult 
in any of them. 

It appears to me, nevertheless, that for the purposes of the 
landscape artist, or for any student who is not devoted to the 
representation of the mechanical action of the human body, 
continued or frequent study from the nude figure is unneces- 
sary. I know there must be a school and series of masters in 
this branch of painting, and can only beg them to remember 
that their object is Art rather than science, and that they are 
exposed to temptations which have nothing to do with either 
Art or science. Let a certain knowledge of bones and 
muscles be carefully assimilated, so that the picture may pass 
the surgeon's eye, even if he will only look at it from his own 
point of view. But the painter's eye is not the surgeon's, and 
it will do him no good to try to make it so. If you feel it 
your real object to produce beautiful anatomical diagrams, of 
dead flesh or living flesh be it so. Unless that is your chief 
aim, you will do well to remember that historical painting 

1 Corot's work is of course an exception to all this, resembling Daniel Cox's, 
most probably, more than that of any other French painter, as far as character 
and feeling go. 



248 A PALETTE. 

represents the real actions of historical characters, who trans- 
acted their great deeds dressed and armed, and not in a state 
of nature. In representing their bodily action, you will have 
to represent it as seen, and as far as it can be seen, under 
armour or drapery, and on your peril no further. Your duty 
is admitted on all hands to be to paint what you see, and not 
to paint what you do not see. 

When you have really mastered a fair knowledge of ana- 
tomy and the proportions from casts and the like, then you 
had better study the draped form more particularly, and see 
how the dress moves and plays with the action of man or 
woman. And as the study of drapery is continually com- 
mended to the advanced student, who is proverbially ' always 
getting on while he studies it' the writer is inclined to 
plead for draped study throughout the preliminary training 
of the draughtsman. You have to learn to represent the 
outsides of things, which you can see, not their insides, which 
you cannot. As Turner said of the man-of-war in the 
shade, ' If you can't see the port-holes, don't paint them 
because they are there ; you can't see the guns and men and 
what not behind them ; and there is no more reason for your 
doing the one set of objects than the other.' 

For French landscape of the best sort then, it is premised 
that the painter knows what he is going to do, and has an 
accurate outline on his canvas, and either sees his subject 
before him, or a minute and well-remembered water-colour 
study of it. 

For instance, set the following palette for wood and water, 
with rocks : these colours, indeed, with one or two richer 
ones, madders for the most part, will carry you through all 
elementary subjects: plenty of everything except umber, 
rather less of that. 

White. 

Yellow-ochre. 

" Zinobre-clair " green much preferable to emerald 1 . 

Indian-yellow. 

Raw-sienna. 

1 Zinobre, zinabre (perhaps cinabre). I regret to say that this beautiful green 
is not to be had in England ; MM. Dyck, of Antwerp, supply it. 



3ASS AND TREBLE. 249 

Burnt-sienna. 

Venetian or light-red, or both. 

Vermilion. 

Indian Lake. 

Cobalt blue. 

Raw-umber. 

Ivory black. 

Your general dark-background shade will be both the 
siennas with cobalt ad lib. ; the base of your transparent 
water will be raw-sienna and black ; that of your stone-greys 
yellow-ochre, black, and white, with a dash of cobalt, or tint 
with Venetian red, &c. ; that of your greens, umber or siennas 
up to the bright ' zinobre ' with or without Indian yellow. 

You must be careful to keep the side ' fonce,' the dark side 
of your palette, always separate from and gradating into the 
side 'clair' or light. It is surprising how this will help you 
to keep your picture in true tone, or pitch of light and shade. 
The dark transparent blacks and browns are on one side ; 
opaque white stands for light on the other : you mix it as you 
want it, allowing for the hues you go on adding. And you 
should have all your mixtures on the palette in a scale of 
gradation from the bass (black) to the treble (white). ' C'est 
tout comme un piano,' said M. Legros ; very charmingly, as 
it seemed to the present writer. The remark is perhaps 
obvious when one sees the palette : but it requires an ex- 
cellent master to shew it one for the first time. 

Furthermore, you had better use somewhat rough prepared 
canvas (from Mr. Robeson's, in Long Acre) and you must, 
once for all, give up megilp and medium. Make up your 
mind what colours you are going to have in, according 
to your outline and study, and lay a very deep quiet tone 
of them as grounding all over your canvas. This is now 
thought to have been the earliest practice of the Venetian and 
other Italian masters, painting as they did with oil over a 
well-dried ground of tempera. 

Secure the masses of your picture, then, by rubbing the 
proper ground into the canvas in coloured patches. You will 
then paint more and more solidly into that, as you approach 
your high lights or brightest hues, remembering to bring them 



250 PORTRAIT 

on gradually, by one gradation after another (amener le plus 
clair), and also, when you have once begun to use your 
smaller brushes and to put on sharp touches, that there is the 
same virtue in preserving the actual crisp touch as it is put on, 
in oils as in water-colour. To a really competent painter, 
well up in his subject, every touch seems like a piece of glass 
or marble in a mosaic. Sharp staccato touches, and full of 
meaning, whether they be broad or fine, few or many : exact 
knowledge of what you want to do before it is attempted ; 
and a certain daring in the touch, based on knowledge : minute 
drawing rather sparingly attempted, and generally with a view 
to force the foreground objects well out of the picture ; these 
are the principal characteristics of good French work, as far 
as the writer has seen. 

The student will soon find it a relief not to be distracted 
with medium. He will avoid shininess, the pest of oil-colour ; 
and will recognise the advantage of an uniform feel of his 
canvas ; also he will be better able to keep his brush mode- 
rately full, and keep his colour at the end of the hairs, with 
other advantages, too numerous to mention, but considerable ; 
especially in being better able to gradate on the canvas. 
This part of Pictorial Art is intended for rather advanced 
students ; but all who take it up with a tolerable foundation 
of experience will find it very useful to them to continue the 
practice of oil-painting in the manner prescribed, alternately 
with careful studies from Nature in water-colour. After a time 
the student will find himself trying this simple method of out- 
door work in oils, and his only danger then will be of falling 
entirely within the rather confined range of French landscape 
subject. Greater exactness, a more complicated palette, with 
unlimited range of attempt, will lead him on let us hope 
progressively as long as his eye is clear and his hand retains 
its cunning. 



PORTRAIT IN OIL AND WATER-COLOUR. 

This part of our book seems hardly complete without a few 
hints on study and practice for portrait-painting. All good 



SITTERS. 251 

workmen will know how difficult it is to do more than set the 
student to work : but, as has been so often repeated, this 
manual professes only to give him principles and rules by 
which he may learn to teach himself. Before he attempts 
anything from a living model we will suppose that he has 
painted a certain number of casts in monochrome, carefully 
studying the faces, and that he has gained accuracy enough 
to be able to command that considerable power of likeness 
which must result from good drawing. He has only to take 
a canvas or mill-board, draw his cast right on it in charcoal, 
and secure the outline with chalk. Then let him scumble a 
tint of raw umber and cobalt, with a little white mixed with 
medium, thinly over the whole surface, and paint the light 
side, and all the lights solidly into that in correct form ; 
blending the tint and modelling the surface with the other 
brush, used for the scumble. When the canvas is covered, it 
may be well, before drying, to dab the flesh-surface over with 
a cloth, as directed early in this chapter. This secures tex- 
ture : and the surface may also be scraped when dry. A 
second and third painting may follow scumbling the trans- 
parent shade over the dry surface, then painting the lights 
into it in white. We suppose this to have been gone through, 
and that our student is face to face with his sitter ; and a few 
hints on dealing with one of those generally unintelligent 
and intractable beings may, perhaps, be of use. 

Consider first if your sitter can be induced to sit still, and 
keep his features still, or let himself alone, and give you a 
quiet view of his natural features, without simpering, or 
making eyes, or looking vigorous and truculent, or assuming 
the supposed expression of any favourite hero. The great 
thing of course is to be able to interest him in some subject 
of conversation while your work proceeds. Nothing, makes 
men more awkwardly self-conscious than sitting for a portrait: 
and the great thing is to get rid of self-consciousness from 
the face or expression just when you are actually drawing it. 
Find, if you can, a point for your sitter to look at which will 
bring his face to the right direction, and let it be understood 
between you, that when you look at him, he is to look at that 
point. Of course all matters relating to position must depend 



252 FIRST MODELLING. 

very much upon circumstances, such as the aspect of rooms, 
height of windows, peculiarities of face, and even the habits 
of the sitter. This arranged, if you can keep him interested 
in conversation or otherwise, and get him to look at his point 
unconsciously, so much the better : if not, he had better be 
allowed a book on a table-easel, or something which will 
enable him to read without dropping his eyes too much. 
Do not let him stiffen his neck, or throw his head too 
far back : treat him, as Isaac Walton says of his frog, as 
though you loved him, and settle him into some favourite 
and comfortable position. There is much expression of 
character in the carriage of a head, and its poise on the 
spine. 

As to the light, it will perhaps be best to hide all windows 
except one behind you, and facing the sitter, and to cover 
the lower part of that. You will place him, let us say, with 
his face three-quarters turned to the light and consequently 
you will have about half one side of his face visible in shade. 
When he is once properly seated, the fixed point to look at 
will enable him always to keep the right position to an 
inch : and the light, falling obliquely on or about his fore- 
head, will throw good marked shadows on his face. Former 
practice with casts should help you much in arranging this. 

Then treat him first in monochrome, exactly like a cast. 
In doing so, you will find the same difficulty in portrait- 
painting as in trying to catch and record any important 
natural subject ; you will meet the great difficulty of repre- 
senting change or subtle continued motion. Eyes will not be 
still ; and the more animated and vivid the face before you, 
the more fresh and unaffected its expression, so much the more 
subtle change and play you will observe in it. However, a 
sitter will at all events try to help you, which a cloud or a 
waterfall will not ; also, as in landscape, the more subtly you 
observe, the more you have to record after all, and the higher 
are the qualities of your work. This first painting in mono- 
chrome is certainly the best method for beginners, and perhaps 
for all except experienced masters. It secures likeness and a 
scale of light and shade ; and by it you partly determine the 
key of colour in which you mean to paint : the clearer and 



DARK AND FAIR TFPES. 253 

brighter hues you mean to put on, the lighter and sharper 
should be the handling of your flesh-shadows: in fact, the 
higher key requires higher skill. When your monochrome 
portrait is thoroughly modelled and dry, scumble again with 
a green grey 1 , in order to break the flesh-colour which is 
coming and secure the proper admixture of grey with the 
warmer hues. Then, if you are using a high bright scale of 
colour, in painting cherry cheeks and that kind of thing, mix 
rose madder, raw sienna, and white, with a little megilp, and 
paint on a half-tint of light ; using vermilion afterwards for 
lips and blushes. If you have a sunburnt man's face to deal 
with, more raw sienna and a little light red may be added ; 
and so you can go through all bright yellow or copper- 
coloured complexions, down to using umber for any coloured 
gentlemen or lady you may wish to immortalize. If, how- 
ever, you are painting a swarthy face in a dark picture, and 
low key of colour, light red will be bright enough to be mixed 
with the white and sienna for your first flesh-tint. Most 
men's faces are, or ought to be, sunburnt, and you will soon 
observe the differences of bilious and sanguine temperament, 
and the necessary colouring. In other words, some men burn 
black and others brown-red. The best representation of 
these two types of Englishmen which I know of is that of 
the Barons in Mr. Watts' great fresco in Lincoln's Inn Hall. 
The dark face is of the Cromwell type, and is, I believe, a 
portrait of Sir John Lawrence. The other with the beard 
and general resemblance to Thor, bears some likeness to the 
Earl of Leicester. Both faces, at all events, announce them- 
selves as portraits none the less genuine for being more or less 
idealized. For to idealize a face means really, to dwell on 
and add force and charm to its most suggestive features ; to 
make the spectator see in your picture the ideas and judg- 
ments about the sitter which are borne in upon you as you 
paint him. The difference between the red and black High- 
lander is still better known than the one we have mentioned : 
and the same types are to be seen in the Semitic races. 
Hebrew hair is red enough sometimes, and I have seen it of 

1 Say of ivory black, emerald green, white, and a little Prussian blue. 



254 R ED SEMITIC TYPE. 

the finest auburn shades in Jerusalem. I remember also that 
my guide to the Dead Sea, a Bedouin called Sheykh Salam 
ibn Seir, combined the true eagle features of Nineveh, wasted 
and exaggerated by heat, age, and hunger, with fine yellow- 
brown hair and beard. 

Having finished your first and second painting, the features 
should be modelled and formed by hatchings with brown or 
pink in their proper directions, as with an engraver's lines. 
These will be the same in oil as in water-colour ; and in the 
latter may be followed up by fine stippling. The great 
success in this is to be able to blend the pure pink and pure 
yellow-brown, as also the grey shade, delicately together 
without mixing the colours : this will produce real richness 
of hue. The effect will be one of true glow and force : and 
though the resulting colour will be neither crude nor staring, 
it will hold its own, even though it be hung in an exhibition 
next to a Master of Fox Hounds or a Lord Mayor. 

This system of covering the canvas with scumbled shade 
first and painting on the lights seems the best for a beginner. 
Yet the converse one, of painting on the lights and shades of 
a face thickly and at first, is recommended by many and 
good workmen, and may be, for ought we know, the best. 
Perhaps a student skilled in water-colour may succeed best 
in oil this way : securing his light and colour first, then glazing 
and scumbling it over till all falls together into proper tone, 
or harmonious relation of light and shade. But greater ex- 
perience seems necessary if one is to work thus. It is 
generally asserted that the Venetian masters used this 
method habitually: and of course when our pupil can draw 
and colour like a Venetian, he will be in a position to do 
what he likes ; and what he does will make him our instructor 
and not our pupil. The real truth of the matter seems to 
be 1 that the Venetians used tempera first, painting on can- 
vases prepared with a gesso or plaster ground, and finished up 
with oil-colour. 

The eyes of a portrait are of course the most difficult thing 
in it, and must be kept to the last. While painting a face, 

1 See chapter on Fresco, Tempera, &c , with letter by Mr. Spencer Stanhope. 



WATER-COLOUR PORTRAIT. 255 

one is sure to gain familiarity with its eyes in successive 
sittings ; and, moreover, it is best to keep them in reserve, 
as it were, and gain the greatest possible likeness without 
them. When that is attained, the eyes will give life to the 
whole painting, and raise its value incalculably. 

There is one sort of portrait which we advise our pupils 
to avoid attempting ; partly, no doubt, from considerations of 
their own interest, and their friends' personal comfort ; but 
also for strictly artistic reasons. It is that of Caricature. 
Low caricature of exaggeration like Rowlandson or Gilray 
is out of date, we are thankful to say : nor is anybody likely 
to take up inferior caricature, unless it be either from motives 
of the purest ill-nature and dullest malice. But the work of 
Doyle 1 and Leech has such evident and obvious merits, and 
is so easy to understand, that people are apt to think it 
equally easy to produce : and there can be no greater mistake. 
The rapid work of these two artists depends on quite special 
qualities of their own minds, and also on severe study and 
practice in drawing. To draw in their style means to draw 
with their power; and their power was gained, like that of 
all other powerful men, by hard labour. We have recom- 
mended tracing Leech's landscape, and repeating it in pen 
and ink ; but his faces are as inimitable as Turner's rapid 
landscape sketches. High caricature is rather vulgarized at 
present by the system of copying photographs, which, in as 
far as they contain exaggerations of the shades, partake in 
the nature of caricatures ; whether that word in its origin be 
connected with character, or derived, as we have heard, from 
the Italian ' carricare,' to pile up, exaggerate, overload. What- 
ever be the first meaning of the word, the thing is work for 
perfectly formed draughtsmen, and quite unfit for students. 

There may be an innate power of seeing and seizing like- 
ness of features, as there is a natural instinct for beauty in 
landscape. But neither can be improved without exertion, or 
perfected without continued discipline and neither portrait 
nor landscape can be begtm at the wrong end. 

1 Tenniel's drawing is more laboured and complete ; as is M. Du Maurier's. 
Either may be copied with advantage by any one who will work closely enough, 
and line for line. 



256 



WATER-COLOUR PORTRAIT. 



Those who have learnt hatching and stippling in water- 
colour by practice with grapes or other fruit will soon find 
they can apply their knowledge to finishing portraits in the 
same vehicle. The colours we named for oils will do to begin 
with, and the processes have in fact already been given, 
except that shade is laid on with one brush and softened with 
the other, instead of light : and that when all is done with 
washes, hatched lines and stippling may follow. 






CHAPTER VI. 



COMPOSITION. 

AS this is a practical treatise addressed to Art students 
of various descriptions, who have not much time, as 
a rule, for metaphysical discussion, I do not feel inclined 
to define Composition, Invention, Imagination, or like words, 
which may nevertheless have to be used, as sparingly as 
possible 1 , in this chapter. The object and purpose of Com- 
position is what we are mainly concerned with : or rather 
the object and purpose of the composer, what he means 
to do and may hope to do by real attention to the subject. 

Now the object of what we call Composition here is to 
affect the mind of the person who looks at your picture 
(supposing him to be a tolerably sensitive and intelligent 
person), by the matter of the work and the way it is 
arranged, or composed, in order to be presented to him. 
By the matter of a drawing or picture is meant, of course, 
all the ideas which it is intended to convey : and on their 
arrangement or composition, or setting together, depends in 
great measure the effect of the whole thing not only the 
immediate appearance of the picture to the eye, but its 

1 Mr. Ruskin's account of Composition is quite sufficient for our purpose : 
' Composition means, literally and simply, putting several things together so as 
to make one thing out of them ; the nature and goodness of which they all have a 
share in producing. Thus, a musician composes an air by putting notes together 
in certain relations ; a poet composes a poem, by putting thoughts and words in 
pleasant order ; and a painter a picture, by putting thoughts, forms, and colours in 
pleasant order. In all these cases, observe, an intended unity must be the result of 
composition. . . . Everything should be in a determined place, perform an intended 
part, and act, in that part, advantageously for everything that is connected with it.' 
(Elements of Drawing, p. 244.) 

S 



258 THE LEADING IDEA. 

moral and intellectual effect on the spectator, the amount 
of true ideas and genuine feeling which he will derive from 
it. And your object must be, first, to have things or 
thoughts in your picture which are worth representing ; and 
secondly, to produce them in it in such order and relation 
as shall make the eye of the spectator take them the way 
you wish, that is to say, in the order and relation in which 
you have taken them. The leading idea should come first, 
so that even an uninformed person who does not know the 
'motive' or leading purport of the picture, may be-fible to 
catch it with some ease ; that is to say, the leading idea 
should be represented by something in the picture which 
must be the most striking or immediately attractive object 
in it ; or else it must be pointed to, as it were, by some 
specially conspicuous object. The collection of Rembrandts 
in the Pinacothek at Munich shews his general use of a 
principal light in the centre of his picture ; or of a burst 
of light wherever he means the eye to go : and perhaps the 
easiest and simplest types of this principle of composition 
are the various Nativities, where the light issues from the 
Holy Child, and where the first thing seen in the picture 
is necessarily the most important thing. This may be said 
to be the real underlying principle of composition, that the 
leading idea shall take the lead. It is the same in pure 
landscape as in historical fresco ; the painter will always 
lead the eye, if he can, to his favourite passage : if he en- 
joys his distance most, the foreground will not have marked 
figures in it, or they will be moving on into distance in per- 
spective ; if he delights in his foreground and figures, he 
will make his distance into their background. For, be it 
observed, where the picture is not like a history, and in- 
volves no action of figures, its chief beauty is its leading 
idea : and the most successful composition is that which 
surrounds a beautiful idea or object with others in positions 
subordinate to it, which assist it by harmony or contrast, 
like the setting of a large fine stone. The subordination of 
the others to a leading idea secures what is called Unity ; 
that is, it shews at once what the picture is about. In our 
frontispiece, the leading interest gathers round the big stone 



ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS. 259 

rather on the left. He is the principal object ; attention is 
called to him by means of delicate contrast : he is pale, 
cubical, and solid on his light side : his shadowed side is 
dark and opaque : before that side is the stream, which is 
rich, dark, and transparent, contrasting with both the light 
and dark side of the stone ; and also giving a sense of 
hidden soft-gliding delicacy which contrasts with one's feel- 
ing about him. He is the chief character in the sketch, 
because in the old times he must have come violently into 
the land he occupies in a raid, like a Northern invader or 
mountaineer ; and the question arises, whether he came 
down with the stream he now lives by, when it was stronger ; 
or if he rolled down the hill side suo Marte ; or if he is a 
trace of the ancient incursion of some great glacier. Many 
a day he has been quiet, however, and been a settled and 
not a rolling stone. So he has gathered moss ; and the 
heather and briars and young ash saplings have grown 
round him, though the sheep have nibbled them rather ; 
and we suppose a small trout lives under him in the 
shadow, and that the ouzels come down and dip about 
him after caddis worms. He is a piece of the far hills, 
but they do not miss him ; like the Skyeman Mac Rim- 
mon, ' he returns no more no more no more.' 

This may be considered rather sentimental and perhaps 
silly. But this book is written in a greater degree for 
those who have some feeling of their own about landscape 
than for those who have not ; and one may say that if 
Sentiment or Feeling will not make a painter, dulness will 
not do it either. And the fact is, that in all painting, 
and all the inventive or creative pursuits, the habits or 
faculty of observation and rapid association and connexion 
of ideas make the artist : and these are capable of culti- 
vation. We do not deny that there is some risk of over- 
cultivating them ; and no habit of mind can be worse than 
that of trying to be desperately imaginative about every- 
thing. And this is one reason why a painter should not 
avoid society, if he can help it ; that it is good for him 
to learn to follow a train of reverie when it comes to him ; 
and learn all the time to be prosaic with quiet people, and 

S 2 



260 REVERIE. 

not expect everybody to understand him. However this 
may be, it is certain that true feeling gains power by quiet 
and unaffected cultivation: and there is no doubt that 
minuteness of sight, as well as correctness, is a matter of 
study and acquirement. So it is also with habits of at- 
tention and observation. And in all education we think 
that very often sufficient allowance is not made for reverie, 
and that scarcely enough time for easy reception of natural 
ideas and half-unconscious pondering over them is allowed 
boys and girls. People always want to see the former, at 
all events, either steadily at work or noisily at play : England 
expects either so much Latin or so much cricket of all 
her smaller children ; and everybody is impatient at seeing 
them ' moon about and do nothing.' While they really 
do nothing it is all well with them their not getting into 
mischief is something. If they are capable of connected 
thought or fancy, whether it be about fairies or ponies 
or lessons, let them go on with it : they are taking their 
time and dreaming out their little dream, and had better 
be left to it. Real idleness soon betrays itself, by ill- 
temper, listlessness, or mischief. 

This has little to do, however, with our remarks on 
composition, since, as was observed at first, we can do no 
more than offer some remarks on it. It is doing a good 
work for any person to induce him to look at Turner's 
' Liber Studiorum : ' and as the plates have been auto- 
typed not unsuccessfully, and are themselves more accessible 
than they were, it will be well to refer to the book for one 
or two instances of powerful arrangement, by which the 
desired thoughts are conveyed to the spectator's mind in 
the easiest and most decisive way : we shall choose the 
easiest and most obvious, with subjects of slighter or deeper 
interest. The sea-piece called ' A Brisk Gale ' is a noble 
study of sea and cloud and shipping : the first object in it 
which catches the eye is the sail of a fishing-boat, which 
is the brightest object in a long line of illuminated sea. 
That line of light makes one look at the clouds which have 
broken to let it through ; and the faint streaks of slanting 
rain instantly make one see how the wind blows from the 



RIZPAH. 261 

left of the picture. The eye runs along the horizontal 
illuminated line, and is led off at an angle, up the wild 
edges of heaped storm-clouds, the lateral burst of light 
shewing them with all their forms. That is the way out 
of the picture. Another glance at the white sail and the 
attention is caught by the black sail of a cutter in the 
full darkness and strength of the gale, running out to the 
line-of-battle ship at anchor in the line of light the princi- 
pal minor incident in the picture. From the wake of the 
cutter the eye is led out of the picture, or rather round 
it, to the large ship and line of light again, by marvellously 
drawn waves foaming and brightly illuminated at top, all 
lashed over to the right by the wind. It is also guided by 
a white sea-gull and the large ensign on board the liner, 
which last also give vast depth to the stormy horizon be- 
hind them. Or notice in Calais harbour how every line 
points to the old spire ; or in Ramsgate how the central 
mass of light shews the way into the harbour, which the 
nearest vessel will just fetch on her present tack : or, 
again, in the S. Gothard how the first slow mule coming 
out of the long gallery carries the eye to another at the 
further end ; how the line of the wonderful road which 
claimed Turner's chief admiration is marked far below in 
the more open valley. 

In the plates, where the interest is great and depends 
on important figures, the principle of composition is per- 
haps easier to understand, because the leading fact in the 
picture is seen at once in its proper position. The figures 
in Cephalus and Procris challenge attention at once. But 
the plate of Rizpah and her dead sons is certainly one 
of the greatest examples which exist of powerful composi- 
tion, and of the command which it asserts over the eye of 
any ordinarily careful spectator. The chief light in the pic- 
ture is the weary mother's torch, which at once catches the 
eye and directs attention to its various reflections on the 
sackcloth spread on the rock ; on the languid, exhausted, 
living figure of the watcher ; on the fleshless ribs and up- 
turned skeleton feet of the dead sons of Saul ; and lastly, 
on the points of a small crown, such as Saul's concubine 



262 CONTRAST. 

once wore. Then the powerful contrast between the near- 
looking brightness of the rising moon and the massive 
shade of the oaks of the middle-distance claims notice, and 
the eye falls unavoidably on a small object sticking up in 
the nearer middle-distance. It points out another watcher ; 
it is the impatient tail of a leopard, waving in hungry 
irresolution : and a large bird is hovering above him, dark 
against the light, while another is wheeling about nearer, 
reflecting the light and sharply relieved against the fore- 
ground darks. Just between the two birds are slightly 
drawn the sheaves of barley harvest. The mind is led 
through every thought which the text of Scripture gives, 
as minutely as by written narrative, and with impressive- 
ness and reality beyond all words. 

Works of transcendent imagination and power are be- 
yond rules of composition, it is true ; but then they gener- 
ally conform to rules, because rules are made out of them : 
at all events it is possible to get good ideas about rules and 
principles from them. Rules of composition are very com- 
monly, and quite rightly, generalizations from the works of 
great painters. These men command the eye and the mind 
they scarcely know how ; and without fixed and completed 
method. But some of the means they use can be described 
and imitated. And imitating a good painter's manner and 
method will be of the greatest use to the student, if he will do 
it strictly by way of exercise, and remember that the method 
is only a small part of the power of the master, the ideas 
conveyed by his work being the great thing. 

Enough has been said of Contrast, which involves excite- 
ment ; and is naturally used in subjects where strong feelings 
are engaged, or violent action is represented. Storm and 
mountain scenery in landscape involve all the sense of passion 
and vehement action, to the painter or any tolerably sensitive 
spectator, as much as tragic scenes or battle-pieces, with this 
great advantage, that their expression of it can never be 
ignoble. Of course it is found that the use of contrast in a 
picture tends to excitement, and that of likeness to repose : 
though harmony involves much delicate contrast, and is best 
produced by the suggestion of contrast overcome. Cuyp's 



HARMONY OF CUR VA TURE. 263 

pictures of dreamy afternoon repose derive their thoroughly 
soothing and sleepy effect from the spectator's feeling, or 
unconscious thought, of how the different colours of the 
objects in the picture are merged in light, and all the greys 
and greens and browns are embraced and lapped in gold. 
Contrast is there, you know, and you are pleased that it is 
there and that you do not see it, but are overcome with the 
animal feeling of soft brightness and ease and absence of 
interest, and deafness to the call of time. The fact is, that 
contrast and harmony are things dependent on each other ; 
and they vary mutually like light and darkness. A still 
summer-day effect in a picture of Glencoe or the Valley of 
Zermatt would involve a feeling of calm ; and all its parts 
would have to be somehow pervaded with peace the softer 
lines dwelt on, the brightest tints used, little circumstances of 
rest put in, and so on. That, well done, would be a great 
Harmony of Quiet. But the whole quiet effect of such a 
picture would depend first on the implied contrast of Glencoe 
or Zermatt in calm, with Glencoe or Zermatt in storm ; and 
its repose would be felt as repose after toil. Secondly, moun- 
tain scenery always suggests the action of immeasurably great 
forces which have now in great part ceased to act ; and the 
stillness of a mountain valley carries with it an undefined 
suggestion of the inconceivable power of volcanic or watery 
action by which the valley was formed. 

The object of composition in pictures is perfectly well 
stated in Horace's remark as to poetry : 

' Non satis est pulchra esse poemata ; dulcia sunto 
Et quocunque volunt, animum auditoris agunto.' 

The power over the ' animum auditoris,' or ' spectatoris,' is the 
thing : and there are various technical means of gaining it by 
paying little attentions to the eye and delicately flattering 
the intellect. Technical rules of composition ought not to be 
undervalued or neglected ; they are not all, they are not 
much ; but ignorance of them, or idle contradiction or neglect, 
will do great harm to any picture. Almost every eye likes 
to follow a good curve ; every trained eye will, as a matter of 
course. Consequently, when the salient objects of a picture 



264 SWEEPING OR SPRINGING CURVES. 

are arranged so as to follow each other in a good curve, that 
is a great point gained in its composition : every competent 
and careful person who looks at it will experience pleasure, 
consciously or unconsciously, from following with his eye the 
harmonious line of leading points : and that pleasure will 
lead him about your picture where you please. We may call 
our third law of composition that of Arrangement in curves, or 
Unity and Harmony (by contrast or similarity). 

We have no room to quote so long a passage as the dis- 
sertation on lines of curvature in vol. iv. of ' Modern Painters,' 
and must refer the student to it in hope that it will receive 
from him all the attention it deserves. The laws of beauty in 
abstract line there laid down are at least sufficient for the 
purposes of the artist, and probably would go far towards 
satisfying a scientific analyst. For our purpose, wishing 
rather to tell the student of certain classes of beautiful curves, 
rather than to attempt to lay down rules for what curves he is 
to consider beautiful, we can only give a few extracts from the 
valuable dissertation we have mentioned. 

It would probably be said, in ordinary painters' or sket- 
chers' language, that the beauty of a curve consists in its 
' springing ' or sweeping character. The one word ' springing ' 
conveys an idea of vigorous effort in its origin ; the other, 
'sweeping,' that of severity of curvature, approaching to a 
right line. Such curves as those of a distant shore may be 
called sweeping curves, because being nearly right lines they 
convey the idea of getting over ground as fast as possible, and 
also because they suggest natural forms mostly observed in 
distance or at a distance, such as the lines of extensive plains 
or of tolerably calm sea. They are in fact perspective lines, 
as are those of the cirrus-cloud fields. And their impressive- 
ness results from the feeling which is in them of space, in fact 
of infinity. Curves which radiate from a centre, like those of 
leaves and all vegetation, are felt to be springing curves : they 
are understood to start from their origin and go forth towards 
infinity as far as they can : and they suggest vital force and 
vigour. It is not necessary to distinguish these curves from 
each other, because almost all good lines spring vividly from 
their origin and sweep off into severity of curve afterwards. But 



WING-CURVES. 265 

all such lines at once separate themselves from the regular or 
monotonous curves, such as may be drawn with compasses ; 
or are generated in any invariable mathematical way, as the 
sections of a cone, and the cycloid. The parabola and hyper- 
bola may be excepted, as each of them consists of a pair of 
very beautiful curves. But all the beautiful natural curves are 
irregular : the outer edge of a wing of any bird of powerful 
flight, as of the hawk or gull among the long-winged birds, or 
the grouse, and teal or other ducks, among the short-winged, 
is an excellent example of simple beauty of springing line. 
The expression of life and vital strength in the latter example 
depends of course on the way in which the feathers radiate 
from the bone or centre of motion : the sense of power in the 
long wing is conveyed by the severe line of the shoulder and 
greater quills 1 . 

It should be remembered that the principles and rules 
which we are giving are rules of composition only, that is to 
say, that they suggest order and arrangement for ideas which 
you already possess, and that the value of an original work 
depends on matter rather than arrangement. They cannot 
supply the thoughts or facts you wish to paint ; and, as has 
been hinted, powerful thoughts and strong impressions from 
Nature generally arrange themselves in the mind and on the 
canvas in pretty intelligible order ; so that he who possesses 
them will comply more or less unconsciously with most of the 
principles here given. We have placed opposite Chapter i. a 
rude sketch of some of the main lines of Turner's Mer de 



1 The vigour of the short wing suggests what we call springing curves : the grace- 
ful outline of the long wing illustrates the long or sweeping curves. This is beauti- 
fully shewn in a plate of vol. iv. of ' Modern Painters,' where the wing-forms are 
shewn exactly to resemble those of the lower slopes of a mountain. 

It is impossible for us to take up the subject of abstract lines here, or to make 
any real enquiry into the causes of their greater or less beauty. The twentieth 
chapter of ' The Stones of Venice ' should be carefully studied, especially in all that 
relates to plate vii. It is very possible that the student may not at present see that 
one line is more beautiful than another. But we think as he gains knowledge, and 
practises drawing, he will find at all events that he prefers pictures which are based 
on fine natural lines. And the chapter of ' The Stones of Venice ' which we have 
referred to, will give him some examples of the mo'st beautiful contours of objects, 
great and small, and with valuable analyses and classifications. See also ' Elements 
of Drawing,' Letter iii., p. 273. 



a 66 MER DE GLACE. 

Glace in the ' Liber Studiorum : ' a work which for power of 
expressive line seems to us quite unsurpassed in Art. It is 
strictly a composition, as there is no spot on the Chapeau 
side of the Mer de Glace which commands the particular 
outline given. Prof. Ruskin's partial analysis of the plate is 
directed to prove how thoroughly the character and structure 
of the aiguilles or sharply pointed mountains of the valley of 
Chamonix are felt in and (perhaps unconsciously) expressed 
by Turner's work. It is not in his way to point out in that 
part of his work the wonderful power of Turner's glacier- 
drawing, which he refers to elsewhere in speaking of the print 
of the Glacier des Bossons. Our rough line sketch with the 
few dotted curves will enable the pupil to trace what may be 
called springing curves all over the picture. If he will refer 
to the plate, the photograph published by Mr. Hogarth, or 
the autotype copy, he will observe the way in which the 
central light of the ice is repeated by that of the sky and 
upper snow : how the eye cannot help going first to the 
central light, and is then caught by the leaping lines of ice- 
fracture. He will see in our woodcut how they point up to 
the wild aiguilles, which in their turn draw back from and 
suggest the distance and grandeur of the faintly-seen snow- 
peak far away. Next, his attention is handed on from one 
jagged edge to another along the high ridge to the right, 
finding no rest until it slides down the dark pine- edged cliff 
over the Montanvert to the glacier again ; where it is at once 
seized on by the great descending curve of the ice from the 
left, carried across nearly out of the picture, and brought 
round again to below the principal light on the sharpest ice- 
peaks. Then the spectator begins to see that the lines are 
lines of furious motion, and that the peaks break back like 
sea-waves when wind is against tide, or those of a torrent 
when it first meets a great submerged rock. In short, it is 
evident that Turner understood the flow and progress of the 
glacier, was deeply impressed by it, and determined that other 
people should feel it. Then at last, in the left-hand corner, 
are the ugly wrecks and crumbling ruin of the dismal 
moraine : it is all foul with its own work of destruction. 
Great rocks are there half ground to powder, and dusty 






HARMONY AND UNITY. 267 

meal of granite as fine as flour ; various jagged edges of what 
once was pure snow : the desperate grind of the massive 
ploughshare in its unyielding furrow, where clear ice bites 
on the clean rock all is there. All this was given on paper 
in form and colour long before any written words in the 
English language had told men anything about it ; when De 
Saussure was sole authority, and when the old guides might 
still have remembered how he ascended Mont Blanc 1 in a 
long scarlet coat and cocked hat with gold cockade, &c., and 
his son in lemon-colour and top-boots. 

There are other rules or practical objects to aim at in what 
is called composition, which will be found to be really involved 
in the principles we have given. They are to be mentioned 
as means of expressing and securing the feeling of harmony ; 
either by contrast, or by similarity, or by arrangement in 
beautiful curves. We presume that unity expresses the 
proper pre-eminence of a leading idea, and that harmony 
expresses the means by which that leading idea is kept in 
its relation of command to others in a natural and pleasing 
order. It is best also to give some of the terms used in 
teaching composition, and to suggest how they may all be 
classified under our principle, that a composition is several 
ideas made into one new one, with skilful use either of 
contrast, which produces excitement, or of harmony, which 
produces repose, or of both together, which produces reflective 
repose. These terms are especially frequent in lectures or 
treatises on decorative or highly conventional composition, 
such as patterns for ornamental manufacture : and we think 
their origin is the same. 

/-Repetition, i.e. of the same idea in varied forms 
I Symmetry, or consistency of idea and similarity of form, 
with evident novelty of both ; or at least with difference 
of relation 

^-Balance, or symmetry of masses 

are three different ways of expressing harmony of contrast 
or harmony of likeness. Repetition gives harmony of like- 

1 See old prints and illustrations. We believe, by the way, that young M. de 
Saussure did not ascend Mont Blanc ; Lut he often accompanied his father : and we 
well remember this picture. 



268 BREADTH AND UNITY. 

ness ; the spectator finds unity of meaning in any number of 
varied forms. Look, for example, at the leaping lines all over 
the Mer de Glace etching, and the aiguille-points: all 'alike, 
with a difference.' Symmetry expresses that which makes 
repetition so agreeable, the mingled resemblance and variety 
of forms ; like the recurrence of a theme in a musical com- 
position, where the notes are always changing. It is based 
on the principle of unity by similarity. Observe in the 
example how all the peaks resemble one another without 
repeating each other in any case. If you think they are 
exactly like each other, take a piece of tracing-paper and a 
fine pencil, and draw a few of them. This should be done in 
any case, and very carefully : and the tracing should further 
be completed, in pen and ink, over the pencil lines ; yet they 
should not be followed exactly, but used as guides for firm 
pen-drawing with the original copy before you. 

Balance of masses is well illustrated in the plate of the 
Mer de Glace ; where the two lower corners of the picture 
balance each other as masses of darkness, and also repeat the 
two dark sides of the picture, which balance each other also 
to right and left, while the pale sky with its snow-peak, and 
the white glacier-ice, do the same above and below. It will 
be seen at once that balance of parts, where there is a leading 
idea to fuse them into a whole, conduces to the full expression 
of such motive or leading idea. It is impossible to give any 
marked rule on the matter except the old one, ' Know what 
you mean to do, and do it : ' or in other words, have a leading 
idea and let all other ideas in the picture follow it. While the 
parts of a picture are felt to be parts, they may be elaborated 
to any extent ; but they should balance each other as parts of 
a whole, not contend with each other on unconnected interests. 

Breadth and unity are destroyed when there are many 
objects of equal interest about a picture. The criticism in 
the preface to ' Modern Painters ' on Claude's landscape called 
II Mulino, or on the Wouvermans landscape in vol. v., are 
admirably detailed accounts of this. There should be some 
ruling motive in a work, which should have evidently a claim 
on the spectator's attention ; instead of a number of groups 
scrambling for it, like a set of importunate beggars. Giotto's 



REPETITION. 269 

groups balance each other exactly, but they are all united in 
the purpose of his picture. 

Breadth seems to be a part or means of unity, by proper 
subjection of the whole picture to its leading idea. We have 
said a good deal of this in the first part of this chapter ; but 
we cannot give any rules or receipts for having leading or 
other ideas, except the general moral precepts of doing one's 
best, and being faithful to one's gifts, especially the chief gift 
of Admiration ; or delight in beauty as God's work for man. 
Those who will look for beauty and store it in their memory, 
will not want ideas by the time they know how to draw ; and 
will be able to take them in proper order, and one at a time. 
In our example in lines, the leading idea is pointed to by the 
flow of the glacier, and the sharpness of the peaks. The motion 
is given mainly by the sweeping lines of the ice which swing 
the eye across and across, as the weight of a torrent rounding 
a corner sets over, first on one side, then on the other ; the 
sharpness of form is variously repeated by the rocky pin- 
nacles. Both result in such feeling of force and desolation 
as completes the impressiveness of the picture. All its ideas 
converge in that of Death and its power. 

What is called the principle of Interpenetration is of great 
technical value in composition, whether pictorial or decorative. 
It consists in carrying portions of light into the principal 
masses of shade, and placing small spaces of dark upon 
light, with proper balance and relation to each other. It is 
a principle strongly insisted on in Mr. Prout's works on light 
and shade, and of course depends on that of contrast. It is, 
in fact, contrast artfully contrived ; and its success depends 
on proportion and balance ; and in higher Art, on the skill 
with which the artifice is concealed as in the white tongue 
of ice-forms, on the right of the Mer de Glace plate which 
runs into the deep shade. The quarterings of a shield are a- 
simple instance ; and the sea-mews and illuminated wave-tops 
in the one or two Turner sea-pieces we have mentioned are 
repeated by most marine painters. The use of the torch, bat, 
sackcloth, and trees in Rizpah is very noticeable. 

An artifice frequently used whenever there is opportunity 
for it is the suggestion of distance and perspective by inter- 



2/0 SUGGESTED PERSPECTIVE. 

lacing lines, such as tree-trunks crossing each other in a forest 
picture (see Cephalus and Procris, Blair Athol, CEsacus and 
Hesperie, with others in the 'Liber Studiorum'). Incident 
of this kind should be very carefully studied, as it often gives 
opportunity for expressing space just when it is most wanted. 
The pleasure which interlacing lines give the mind, seems to 
be derived from their radiation, and from the sense of variety 
in unity, of organic form, and modulated change, which they 
always convey. The radiation of the lines in the Mer de 
Glace from the centre of the glacier is visible at a glance, and 
we have already spoken of the way in which they guide the 
eye and call attention to the principal points which the artist 
meant to enforce. 

Mr. Prout's writings on Composition have considerable value, 
and the subject is exhausted in Mr. Ruskin's various works. 
Taking the word as expressive of the best arrangement of 
the greatest ideas, into an Unity or great new Idea, it is quite 
clear that it is almost synonymous with artistic power, as we 
have already said : and we repeat that we can give no rules 
for acquiring such power, but can only suggest means whereby 
the reader may develop all powers of the kind, which are in 
him, to the fullest extent. Also we fully believe that all men 
possess some such powers ; that sensitive apprehension of not 
possessing them is one favourable sign of their existence ; 
and that when the gift of admiration and keen pursuit of 
beauty are combined with power of arrangement, the artistic 
temper seems to be almost complete, and to want only the 
propelling and sustaining qualities of will, perseverance, or 
necessity. 



CHAPTER VII. 



v 

ON LANDSCAPE SKETCHING. 



WE suppose that sketchers multiply as Art grows popular ; 
and, indeed, amateur pursuit of Art generally begins 
with what is called 'a taste for sketching.' Most people 
understand by the word the act of drawing rapidly from 
Nature, or making memoranda from observed objects, without 
any intention of carrying them out with perfect finish. All 
drawings for parts of a picture, or expressions of its first idea 
in a hasty way, from necessary eagerness to seize the flying 
thought, are also called sketches, as distinguished from studies, 
or completed parts of an incomplete subject. These latter 
are highly finished copies of part of a work ; the former 
may contain all the scheme of the whole work. We shall 
take Landscape Sketching from Nature by itself, and must 
plead for it as a pursuit having real and great value of its 
own, not only because it is the means of committing people 
to Art, so to speak, and of leading them from amateur practice 
into serious work ; but because it is indispensable to the true 
artist ; though some of our best men seem to reject the very 
idea of rapid work altogether. 

Of course no man can paint what he has not seen. The 
question is, How long must he have had it before his eyes, 
before he is justified in trying to record it ? Beauty may some- 
times be seen and studied ; it will more often be seen at a 
glance, without time for study. There is no time to study 
waves and clouds, or their effects they must be painted from 
memory. Many painters may consider such things as unfit 
subjects for their art ; but at all events the general verdict, 
and not merely the popular one, will for ever go against 



272 RAPIDITY. 

them. And one of the senses of the word 'sketching' 
perhaps its special and peculiar sense seems to go against 
it too. That which is seen in a continual state of perceptible 
change is seen, in a different sense of the word from that 
which remains at rest for long periods of time together, and 
gives the painter leisure at his work. Seeing change is not 
the same thing as seeing a thing at rest. You are motionless, 
so will your picture be when it is done, but it is to represent 
vivid change and furious motion. The fact is obvious, that 
the multitudinous changes of air and water in motion may be 
sketched, but cannot be studied, in the same sense in which 
a man may sit down and make a study of the Torso. The 
sketcher may have to record the effect of an instant of con- 
sciousness, and use all his skill and a great deal of his time 
in recording the impressions of a moment. ' Paint your 
impressions,' said Turner. When he was induced to make 
an observation on Art, we believe it was generally found to 
be an important one : and this example is strongly in favour 
of our view, and goes far to establish it. But not every 
impression can be painted ; and our great difficulty is often 
that of choice, self-restraint, and avoidance of things beyond 
us. The artist will have knowingly and willingly to let many 
lovely scenes and effects go by, and trust to memory to save 
him a few features of them. It is not only because he cannot 
do them justice nobody can it is because he would be only 
distracting himself and wasting time in attempts which would 
not advance him in his knowledge of his trade. For up to 
a certain point every successive picture ought to carry the 
artist forward. Each picture should be to him the record of 
his having learnt either some new tint, or some new process, 
or learnt to put down some natural fact new to him in a 
language understanded of the people. 

Various questions as to painting impressions of scenery or 
action must always continue more or less in dispute among 
men of different character, and different powers of mind and 
eye. Some appear to see everything at one intensely vivid 
glance ; others require time to master an impression, and are 
yet able to recall it and represent it by action of memory : so 
that a thing seen or deeply felt may reproduce its features 



THE PAINTER'S MOMENT. 273 

in their thought and indeed on their canvas, by a power 
something like that of the development of a photographic 
picture on its sensitive medium. In any case, the movement 
and change of Nature is so very great, especially in all 
subjects which deal with clouds or water, in an agitated state 
and on a great scale, that the faculty of seizing the moment 
is an especial necessity to the sketcher ; and, like other 
faculties, it requires and rewards cultivation. The difficulties 
of real study from Nature are described and analysed by 
Mr. Hamerton in his 'Thoughts on Art,' with a precision 
which could only have been reached by long practical labour 
and experience. He points out the difficulty or rather the 
impossibility of continuing a picture of the same scene under 
different lights or effects of weather ; and it is certainly not 
over-rated in his description. Of course a picture whose motive 
is vehement action either in the appearance of landscape or 
the action of figures cannot, properly speaking, be elaborated. 
Take any highly tragic subject involving violent death. It 
cannot be painted to the death from models. As Don 
Whiskerandos says in the Critic, people can't stay dying 
for ever, or even for the time required to study the form 
and colour of the dying person with the calm science of the 
finished painter. Indeed if it were possible, a large and able 
school of critics would consider with good reason that the 
painter's calm and science were altogether misplaced, and 
inadequate to the tragic nature of the subject. The point, 
so rightly pressed in Lessing's Laocoon, ought never to be 
forgotten, that the painter has but a moment of time, and 
that his record of fact or of ideal can extend over no more. 
The historical painter feels it to be so, and knows that 
his greatest success is to make the spectator comprehend the 
moment of action, and throw himself into the passion of a 
crisis. He, at all events, knows his difficulty, but the earnest 
student of nature in landscape has the same discovery to 
make. He also will find the truth of Heraclitus' strange 
saying, that the flowing river is not the same river, or he 
who sits by its side the same man, from hour to hour or 
moment to moment. At all events, momentary and violent 
action have to be represented, and a student, even of landscape- 

T 



274 THE PAINTER'S MOMENT. 

painting, who refuses or is unable to attempt their representa- 
tion, is confined to a narrow line of subjects, and painfully 
limited in the exercise of original power. And I have been 
induced by an accidentally vivid impression of the kind, to 
try to put an instance or example before the student, which 
may help to direct him what to aim at in such subjects. The 
action chosen is instantaneous and violent in a high degree ; it 
is the simultaneous movement of a horse and a pony with their 
riders in clearing a ditch : and the sketch of the smaller pair 
at least is a tolerable reproduction of the intensely vivid 
impression on the retina of the elder rider, made in less than 




Fig- 3- 

an instant, and perfectly immutable to this day. The drawing 
of the larger animal is founded on frequent observation of an 
old and beloved favourite of many years : but though her 
portrait is not, like the other, the product of a momentary im- 
pression, it is still thought that her characteristic expression 
of projectile force in her leap is fairly well rendered : and I 
may as well say, in anticipation of much amateur and other 
criticism, that this illustration has not been added to Pictorial 
Art without the approval of one of the best veterinarians, and 
one of the first anatomists in England, both fox-hunters of 
many years and great keenness. 

The little woodcut, then, is a transcript of the impression 
which flashed into my somewhat anxious eye on observing 




-- 

f 

.- 
II 



LIKE GOING. 275 

a small boy's first flying jump on his pony : and the turn 
of the larger figure in his saddle seems fairly to represent 
an involuntary and instantaneous movement in the air to see 
the little one over. The lines of the woodcut are almost 
exactly those which I drew in ink over pencil immediately 
on reaching home a short time after the fact. The larger 
sketch is an attempt to work out the small woodcut in light 
and shade without losing the trenchant effect of the lines; 
and I can but repeat that it has passed severe inspection, 
artistic, anatomic, equestrian and veterinary. It is pronounced 
to look like going, and the expression must be quoted, not so 
much for its elegance, as because it conveys the very idea of 
instantaneous action which the picture is intended to convey. 
' Like going,' means like a moment of vigorous ecstatic action, 
and, as far as the two sketches convey that idea, they are 
worth the student's attention. For he will never acquire the 
coup d'ceil of the Painter, who sees all in a moment, if but 
for a moment, without practice of eye and mind, and the 
often-repeated endeavour to fix flashes of scene and event 
on his mental retina. 

The flight of a bird, the fall of a wave, the convulsion of 
a thunder cloud, the blinding rush of rain, the circling zones 
and whirling eddies of a swollen torrent in its wrath ; the 
sustained and shattering crush of its falls not intermittent 
like the thunder of sea-rollers, but unrelaxing in hoarse wrath 
unbated these are all phases of the elemental passions of 
change and force. And though there is no such thing as 
absolute success in representing them, still such passionate 
sympathy, such depth of understanding, such science of 
accurate observation, and vast power of manual interpretation 
have been shewn in attempts to do it, that trials must con- 
tinue to be made : and the few lines which follow are an 
attempt to suggest to the painter-student of action, elemental 
or animal, what he had better try to do in observations 
and rapid sketches. 

The picture in the eye i.e. on the brain or memory that 
is the first thing, and almost the whole. We will begin with 
the two illustrations, and try to apply what we have to say 
on them to other subjects. All the expression of the subject 

T 2 



276 A HORSE'S LEAP. 

is that of muscular action and consequent motion. The pony 
has bent his knees and sprung forward into the air off his 
hind legs : the mare is clear over her jump, and is extending 
her forelegs and drawing up her hinder ones to land nearly at 
the same time on all four feet. Had her hind legs been 
extended, their fetlocks would have been more bent. The 
boy leans forward screwing himself into his saddle, so as not 
to be thrown up by the vigorous effort of the pony ; the man 
turns in the air to see their performance. The finished sketch 
retains the spirit of the wood-cut lines because it works them 
fairly out in light and shade, though as of course one cannot 
see oneself on horseback, the man's figure is rather a record 
of feeling than vision. Nevertheless the twisted fold in the 
coat and the outward bend of the right elbow, ungraceful as 
they may be, give the idea of a strong effort to turn in the 
saddle, and the whole drawing seems to succeed in conveying 
a momentary and flying impression with a certain accuracy. 

Work of this kind is not exactly matter of school-teaching ; 
but no more are any complicated impressions from Nature. 
Knowledge of art, in fact, if it be not the same thing 
as knowledge of Nature or Fact, cannot exist without it. 
It requires study of real mountains to make pictures 
of mountains, and of horses to draw horses : nor can any 
one work an impression out without a considerable store 
of knowledge of special facts of form, however vivid bis 
first idea may be. When one comes to consider how a 
wave is drawn, for instance, one feels the difficulty of draw- 
ing it even in conventional symbol, and of course the 
absolute impossibility of realizing any given wave. It is not 
only ' given ' for no time whatever under the same form ; 
not only does it move and change, but it is full of motion 
and it is all change. As with the animal in its leap, all sorts 
of movements in the parts of the thing combine to produce 
the universal projectile impulse of the whole thing. 

With the wave, then, you must first try to seize with your 
eye the foremost line of breaking billow, and to draw it in some 
approximate way from memory of one look. You will have to 
draw some kind of undulating line, broken at certain points 
where you mean your wave to culminate. Then you must get 



A WAVE. 277 

some second line of advancing breaker to suit it, chosen at the 
same relative moment of advance or fall or retreat, and drawn 
in correctly-guessed proportion. Then probably you had better 
settle where you will have foam ; and which of the crashes or 
falls of your wave you will insist on accordingly. After that 
you must watch successive waves and study their parts. You 
must consider what the culminating or rampant hollow of the 
wave is like before it falls ; how, at the same moment, while 
one wave, or parts of it, are crashing on the beach or gliding 
up it after their crash, the next wave is gathering up its crest 
into full volume, probably dark and cutting behind the light 
of the foremost foam and the forward-bending curves of the 
nodding surf. When you can convey these parts and many 
more in form and colour of approximate and conventional 
accuracy, you can do a thing well worth any man's doing, 
and worth all the time occupied in learning to do it : and, 
of course, your success in such study will depend as much 
and more on insight and intelligence of mind, natural or 
acquired, than on manual skill or mere minuteness of eye. 
That will help you to paint a peach or a rose when you 
know the methods; but many things have to be painted 
unmethodically. 

Photography has done great things for the study of instan- 
taneous action, especially that of clouds and waves, and much 
knowledge of form may be acquired by its means. And there 
can be no doubt that good verbal and poetic description, 
carefully studied will be of the greatest use to the painter in 
this advanced department of his art ; where school-study fails 
him, and feeling, sentiment, and passion, entirely misplaced 
during early study, come forward to help him instead of 
confusing and thwarting him. 

Consider how much painting is in this sentence ; what obser- 
vation and record. ' Sea action is literally rampant ; and in 
the course of a great breaker, whether in its first proud likeness 
to a rearing horse, or in the humble and subdued gaining of 
the outmost verge of the foam on the sand, or the inter- 
mediate spiral whorl which gathers into a lustrous precision, 
like that of a polished shell, the grasping force of a giant, 
you have the most vivid sight and embodiment of literally 



278 AMATEUR AND ARTIST. 

rampant energy, which the Greeks expressed in their sym- 
bolic Poseidon, Scylla, and Hippocamp, by the head and crest 
of the man, dog, or horse, with the body of the serpent 
and of which you will find the slower image in vegetation, 
rendered both by the spiral tendrils of grasping or climbing 
plants, and the perennial gaining of the foam of the lichen on 
barren shores of stone.' 

The regular landscape amateur, we suppose, intends princi- 
pally to assist his own memory of Nature by such records as 
he can learn to make. This is the humblest form of artistic 
purpose which entitles him to our notice or advice at all in a 
serious way. His object is to create himself a symbol of 
some observed beauty or wonder of Nature, which shall record 
it always for himself. The question then occurs, How far 
shall he try to record it for others ? In shewing it to those 
who have seen and noticed it, he converses with his peers, and 
compares notes ; in shewing the sketch to those who have not 
seen the thing, he so far tries to instruct. But the amateur, 
qua amateur, studies and sketches for himself. The artist 
sketches with a view to composing a picture, which is vir- 
tually the public's ; in the high view he wants to teach by it ; 
in the low view he wants to sell it : he is, therefore, bound not 
only to write its facts down in form and colour for himself, 
but to write them down for the public in such a way that 
they may enjoy as well as understand them. And his doing 
this effectively ought to depend on a mass of former know- 
ledge, natural or technical. It is the possession of all this 
prior knowledge which really distinguishes artist and amateur. 
Publicity is an accident of the artist, as logicians say, 
knowledge of his work is his essence. A room full of water- 
colour drawings by the working classes is no doubt worth a 
visit, and is generally well visited ; so would be one which 
contained work done by the episcopal or judicial bench. But 
both would most probably display a certain inferiority of 
technical knowledge, or limited memory of natural facts ; 
and in proportion as they ceased to display these deficiencies, 
they would cease to be amateur work and become artistic. 
In other words, supposing a sketch to have been worked out 
till there are plenty of truths in it facts well drawn, well 



AMATEUR AND ARTIST. 279 

coloured, and so composed as to lead the spectator's 
attention about the picture, and make him see them as 
the painter intends him to see them then it is a picture, 
whoever painted it ; and he who did it is artist and 
author. According to the number of failures in technicalities, 
he is a good or bad painter. If a man makes sketches and 
retains his pleasure in them because of the beauty that is 
past, he will follow that pleasure, in all human probability, 
and it will lead him on towards serious study of Art with the 
view of reproducing beauty. He will begin to sketch with a 
view to making pictures ; from a contented amateur he will 
become a struggling student, and find that he has begun a 
voyage on the sea which ' sempre si fa maggiore' In fact, 
the making a picture is an act of authorship ; it is true there 
are not many original pictures, but then there are even fewer 
original books, because forms and colours are fresher things 
than pen and ink, and have all sorts of original and noticeable 
facts of their own. Suppose, by way of analogy, that a young 
lady writes charming letters, as many girls do, for her friends : 
she records her life and its doings in pen and ink : it is 
amateur work, and has a charm of its own freshness, 
humour, purity, and perhaps knowledge or keen observation. 
If she is betrayed into a domestic novel, or a published 
journal, she sits down to her picture : she begins to compare, 
to arrange, to idealize ; and assuredly she finds it somewhat 
difficult to do this well : if she is wise, she sees that her 
difficulties proceed from want of knowledge of life in general, 
and is content to wait awhile, and give methodical labour to 
her production. And, it must be observed, that producing 
careless or ill-considered work now is a much less excusable 
matter than it used to be, in landscape or' other Art. Thirty 
years ago it was a matter of difficulty, time, and expense, to 
get even fairly good instruction in any kind of drawing. In 
landscape, that is to say, in genuine study from Nature, it was 
nearly impossible. Painters there were, but very few drawing- 
masters : and their system of instruction and knowledge of 
Nature would not be considered endurable in our days. 
Harding's ' Lessons on Art,' and his various progressive 
studies of trees and home scenery, have produced an effect in 



280 HARDING'S LESSONS. 

popularizing a good conventional style of drawing from 
Nature, which cannot be too well understood. The world has 
advanced beyond them now, to a great extent : but I cannot 
help thinking that a strong majority of the landscape 
sketchers who have gone through a course of Harding, have 
found great benefit from him. His rapid lithographs were full 
of character, and the short written instructions which accom- 
panied them were always to the purpose. In a simple way, 
which nobody could fail to understand, he called attention to 
the study of character in landscape ; and the study of his 
educational writings on Art may be said to be a good prepa- 
ration for reading Prof. Ruskin's books on landscape, just as 
the study of his pictures will guide attentive eyes to intelligent 
perusal of Turner's more powerful works. From his power 
over tree-character, and also from his teaching power in 
enabling his reader to understand it and begin to observe 
Nature for himself, we must pronounce Harding first of 
sketchers in such subject, and also the best early teacher 1 . 
David Cox's example, great as it is, has probably done serious 
harm to many imitators, who have fallen into the snare of 
following his manner of execution without understanding or 
emulating his manner of study. Had they considered that 
his powers were really those of about one man in ten thou- 
sand, they would not have been guilty of the unconscious 
vanity of trying to imitate his style. To imitate any man's 
style is like trying to transplant a tender flower in full blow 
from his garden into quite different soil in your own. The 
flowers you will get will never be anything like what it 
produced before, even if the plant does not wither completely. 
Supposing a student gifted with one-tenth of that feeling for 
woodland and lower mountain which made David Cox the 

1 I retain this passage in its original words and sense. Some of my critics seemed 
to think (when this book first appeared) that Harding was recommended in it as 
absolute model and master of Tree-drawing. I only mean to say that he is the best 
Tree-drawing-master for beginners to this day, and that his elementary books, 
directing young sketchers in the study of tree-character, are still the best I know. 
See Elements of Drawing, Letter II. on the danger of forming a ' free Har- 
dingesque style." But even to the advanced student, Harding's typical ovoid curve- 
system and touch are very convenient in blocking out masses of foliage. Real 
drawing of trees is like real drawing of anything else, only to be learned by study 
of the object itself. 



DAVID COX. 281 

boldest and best sketcher in the world : suppose that he 
studies oak, ash, and thorn, and Welch granite and heather, 
for many years of life in the open air, doing little else ; sup- 
posing that he has a great unconscious gift of composition 
besides then he may produce rapid drawings, in time, which 
shall be at least one-tenth as good as David Cox's. And 
that is worth doing : for he will to a certainty discover many 
things for himself, and diverge from copying Cox, as he 
honourably follows Cox's example, working from Nature as a 
disciple, and not a plagiarist. But if he only copies drawings, 
and tries to pick up the sylvan master's manner, he will end 
as he has begun, copyist and no painter ; plagiarist and no 
true amateur. Copying the picture is not copying the man. 
One does that by working as he worked : and Cox copied 
pictures no more than Turner. And the same remark applies 
to copying Rafael or Titian, or anybody else. Study the 
sketches and imperfect works, if you will : see how the master 
worked technically, where you can see it : study his pictures, 
and see what motive and purpose he laboured with, and where 
in Nature his impressions came from. Then you must do as 
he did, and go and seek for impressions like his from Nature ; 
you must go to the same scenery or to analogous scenery. 
Titian studied in Cadore ; you may go to the Lakes, and 
verify much of his work there by observing its truth to actual 
rocks, waters, and vegetation : and having done thus much, 
you will find yourself adding original discoveries of your own 
to the verified observations of your master which you have 
made your own. This is planting your exotic flowers of 
observed beauty in their own soil, prepared in your own 
garden : mere copying is only pulling off blossoms ; for the 
most part it is spoiling them at the same time. 

This brings us back to Harding as an instructor ; because 
we have named him as the best of landscape drawing-masters 
at first. As has been said, there is no doubt that the best 
drawing-master for real beginners is the well-drilled South 
Kensington teacher, who will enable you to draw with 
a free hand and correct eye. He will teach you to draw 
common things rightly : and things right are always to be 
studied before things beautiful. But one merit of Harding's 



282 WASTE OF EFFORT. 

works at this day is in their imperfection. Every pupil who 
is worth anything, that is to say, who has keen perceptions 
and true feeling, will be able to learn Harding's method ; will 
face Nature with its assistance ; will find it inadequate, yet 
helpful ; and will proceed to apply it, and add methods of his 
own to it. It is, in fact, our best grammar of out-door 
landscape Art, because it is the best illustrated treatise on 
the subject, in which the examples are elementary enough. 
Prout's and Cox's works are excellent for composition, and 
will do much towards calling out feeling, where that unde- 
fmable quality exists. But they do not insist on hand- 
exercises, like scales on a pianoforte ; and Harding does. 

And here we get to what we should have begun with. It 
is useless to try to draw from Nature, unless you can draw. 
This may seem obvious, but large numbers of amateurs go 
directly against it ; and we ourselves, many years ago, began 
scrawling from Nature from sheer admiration, and made out- 
lines and rough sketches which were full of feeling, but which 
our friends generally looked at wrong side uppermost. Then 
we had ' lessons in colour ' from one who deserved a better 
fate than to minister to our ignorance. Then we began 
Harding's trees ; then we began to see much more in trees, 
and all other things, than ever before : and so we were com- 
mitted to landscape-drawing, probably for life. Travel, and 
continued attempts from Nature, and study of Prof. Ruskin's 
works, and copying from Diirer and the ' Liber Studiorum,' 
enabled us to make some progress ; but with every step in 
advance came clearer understanding that we could not draw 
after all, and that ultimately we should have to learn by 
beginning at the beginning. This we did at last; but our 
after feelings have been dashed with a good deal of vexation 
to think how much time and effort we wasted, for want of an 
ordinary Art-school course of drawing, freehand and from the 
cast. There is no doubt that when grown people (or well- 
occupied people) are led to wish to be able to express them- 
selves by painting, they are worse than their juniors in their 
demands for a royal road to success. They want to draw a 
little, they tell you, just so as to be able to put down, say a 
panoramic sketch of the valley of Chamonix, or an impression 






LOOKING FOR A MOTIVE. 283 

of a Highland thunderstorm, or some other bagatelle, in 
two hours' work. What has learning to draw a star-pattern, 
or to copy a cast of a hand or foot rightly, to do with them ? 
They do not want to take pains over drawing and bisect- 
ing straight lines ; they want to draw sunsets and torrents 
without any trouble. They think in a general way, that they 
can walk into Messrs. Winsor and Newton's, and purchase a 
bottle of the hues of earthquake and eclipse, and then be 
taught in six lessons to paint the eclipse and the earthquake 
very like. They do not want to draw right that is for 
artists ; they only want to draw a little. That is to say, they 
want to draw a great deal with little trouble : or, in other 
words, they either think they can learn to produce showy or 
impressive landscapes with no denned forms in them ; or to be 
shewn some patent way of evading all difficulties, and making 
something out of nothing. And they will, perhaps, appeal to 
David Cox, and request to be taught his touch and style : to 
be taught, in a dozen lessons, the knowledge of Nature and 
power of expression which took all his powers a lifetime to 
gain. 

Mulready's pithy advice to the student was ' Know what 
you have to do, and do it.' It sounds like a mere truism of 
vague encouragement. But its real meaning to the learner 
is, as we apprehend, that method is everything, and that 
aimless effort is nugatory. We must try to give the sketcher 
some rules for learning to know what to do in the presence 
of Nature. Let him, in the first place, look for a simple 
subject. By this we do not mean an unimpressive one, or an 
every-day one. There are scenes which naturally fall into 
pictures, and which strike even unpractised eyes with an 
ordered beauty, intelligible and capable of analysis and ex- 
pression. Do not, it may be said as a rule, choose any 
subject unless you can tell yourself or others what is the 
chief beauty of it. Any subject which has a leading feature 
is so far simple, that it allows you to give almost all your 
attention to that feature, and you can so far define to yourself 
what you have to do : that is to say, you have to represent 
a leading idea, and had better add no circumstance which 
does not develop it or throw light on it. Of course accurate 



284 FOREGROUNDS. 

drawing of inferior parts does throw light on the main 
part, and is by all means to be done to the best of your 
power. But you had better leave out features which you do 
not feel to be necessary. What you do put in, you ought to 
draw as well as you can, and realize as far as you can. So I 
should say, choose some quiet pool in a mountain river, or 
reach in a lowland one, where there are steady reflections. 
Or if it may be, take some small tarn or bay in our own Lake 
country, in the calm of evening or morning, when there is not 
more than one rare sigh of wind at a time to confuse the 
polished surface, in which inverted earth and sky are seen as 
in a glass, darkly. There is your impression, calm and the 
feeling of power at rest : what you have to do is to play on 
that theme ; and the mirror of waters is your chief means of 
expression, it will therefore be the leading feature of your 
picture. To all those reflections you must attend, and the 
value of your work will vary as you pay more or less perfect 
attention to them. There is real reason for choice of such 
scenes. Their beauty is very great, and unusually capable of 
analysis, and a very slight amount of dexterity and previous 
practice in sketching will enable a man to give himself some 
pleasure in his work. Moreover, he will soon find that he 
cannot get his water bright, or deep, or still, without getting 
his reflections nearly right ; and that he never can have a 
chance of doing that, unless he can draw the objects of which 
they are reflections. The fact is, a sketch of a tarn or bay 
composes itself, and naturally takes the form of a picture 
rather than of a simple study ; and also, the student will 
soon understand that his success in it depends on his making 
it a careful study, and not thinking of it as a picture. One 
of the great early difficulties is to remember that in making 
a sketch on the spot you are taking a lesson from Nature, 
whereas in painting a picture you are presenting to other 
people the results of what you have learnt, and your own 
thoughts about it trying, in fact, to give a lesson. As a 
learner you draw what you see, adding as little as possible 
of your own. As a painter, you may add, and omit, and 
arrange ; at least we never knew anybody who did not do so 
in some form or degree. And if you can get a good subject 



PREDETERMINATION. 285 

with plenty of reflections, and will look well at it and make 
a real effort to put it down nearly as you see it, it will be a 
lesson of the greatest value, for it will make you draw your 
subject twice over, without fatiguing you. Of course it is 
important to have subjects which will wait for you. And this 
is one of the many reasons for insisting on the foregrounds 
of all your drawings. One enjoys the distance, but learns 
by the nearer objects ; nor can any method be progressive 
without careful study of them. In our view, sketching does 
not consist in a constant effort to evade accurate drawing, 
but in accurate drawing rapidly done. Now it is much easier 
to see what is near than to see what is far off : you may think, 
when you have run a successful wash of purple over your 
distant hills, that they look pretty well, and may be let alone : 
but three or four big stones and some drift-timber or broad- 
leaved weeds close to you, will challenge your real attention 
and powers of drawing. If you can deal with them properly, 
you will see their immense importance in your work ; and the 
further you carry them, the greater value they will give it. 
If you cannot please yourself with them as with the rest of 
your work, at least do your best at them faithfully, or make a 
separate study of them. 

Young sketchers always fly at the distance because it is 
easiest : perhaps they do not even think of the foreground 
till they are half through their distance. Now, if it be 
necessary to know what one is going to do with one's picture, 
one ought to know what one is going to do with that part of 
it which every spectator will look at first. That ought not 
to be left to chance. In every sketch or picture objects bear 
some relation to each other ; and if you are to know what to 
do, you must determine that relation in your mind and mark 
and adhere to it in drawing them. You may like delightful 
old Lucerne as it once was in its quaint beauty and freshness 
the city of the old Switzer obviously built, every house of 
it, with his own deal and his own limestone ; redolent of the 
rocks of Uri, and the pines of Unterwalden. Or you may 
like it as it is, all but invisible behind its huge square factories 
of hotels, and embellished with idle women all head and 
heels. But if you are to draw it so, you must at all events 



286 TIME. 

settle in your mind from the first, where you will put your 
ladies and where you will put your hotels : and if you want 
to represent either you must draw them. 

All this presupposes plenty of time : and this reopens the 
question of how far it is worth while trying to sketch against 
time. It is all very well to settle the question by a simple 
prohibition. But when you have gained power enough, the 
question will settle itself. You will no longer feel tempted 
to dash at hopeless scratch-sketches of beautiful scenes as 
you pass them on steamer or diligence ; knowing their great- 
ness and your own helplessness. You will look hard, learn 
some small thing, and be thankful. Yet you may be right in 
scoring that small thing down : and men differ very much in 
their power of doing it. Turner's hastiest sketches, some of 
those on the Lake of Lucerne, now I believe at South Ken- 
sington, cannot have occupied him above ten minutes. There 
are one or two, I think of the Splugen, which only consist of 
a few leading lines : the latter are exceptional, being a mere 
record of the tremendous profile-line of the Via Mala pre- 
cipices. But these are not so much representative sketches, 
as shorthand notes to assist his memory and invention a 
zigzag line stands for pines, and is continued in an unbroken 
curve to indicate smooth rock. However, as soon as your 
own memory is fairly well stored, you will find yourself most 
likely inventing signs of your own to assist it. In short, very 
rough notes are of great use to people of vivid minds ; but 
as careful records in line are of infinitely more value, to any 
sort of mind whatever, it is always best to make them when 
it can be done. 

The first thing, then, is almost always to secure all the 
leading lines, with all other significant ones. Whether you 
leave things in the places in which you see them, or order 
them about, at least draw them as you see them, if not where 
you see them. Young sketchers of course lean too much on 
outline, especially on sky-lines, and learn to understand the 
anatomy of things in learning to express it. All previous 
knowledge of the laws of growth or the rudiments of geology 
will be invaluable. Every kind of information as to structure, 
in the artistic point of view, will be found in the fourth and 



PHOTOGRAPHY. 287 

fifth volumes of 'Modern Painters.' They will give the 
student all the knowledge which an be obtained by reading, 
and careful study of their illustrations and text is almost 
indispensable. The short manual called 'Letters on Drawing,' 
is a familiar abridgment of a vast quantity of the same matter, 
and is perhaps the best guide in existence for independent 
study of Nature. We think it should be taken up after 
Harding, however, as its directions are at first less tempting. 
Its advanced exercises, well done, will give the student some 
claim to the title of Workman. 

Photography ought to be of the greatest service to all 
learners of landscape. It supplies them with any quantity 
of beautiful foreground material. It gives them forms of 
Alpine roses beyond the reach of schoolboys, unlike those in 
' Sesame and Lilies': its ferns cannot be collected by fanciers ; 
nor can donkeys browse upon its weeds. And more than 
this, photography enables young artists to study rocks coolly : 
not an easy thing to do in a general way. What is best of 
all, photographs of well-known views are always to be had ; 
and any student may thus compare his own work, in lines 
and coloured sketch, with all the true forms of his subject. 
No practice can be of more certain value than that of working 
out a subject already drawn from its photograph, first in light 
and shade, then in colour, at home, and with every advantage 
and assistance. We assume that a good etching in lines has 
been made on the spot, and that a second study has been 
made for the sake of the colours. Every one will see the 
advantage which the painter's memory must then gain from 
the use of a photograph of his subject. Many of Messrs. 
George and Edward's Alpine plates might be made of endless 
service ; and a collection of small stereoscopic landscapes 
and studies should be always at hand, along with the brushes 
and colours. The Devil's Bridge on the S. Gothard is a 
capital instance. It is a difficult subject, not an impossible 
one : the rocks will always wait for everybody : you may leave 
out the new bridge if you please ; there can be no mistake 
about the feeling of the scene. There is a capital small 
photograph of it ; and every one has drawn it, from Turner 
downwards. He who has learnt to draw that precipice and 



288 USE OF THE BRUSH. 

foreground straightforwardly and correctly, and to give such 
conventional treatment to the infant wrath of Reuss, as shall 
put some of its roar into his drawing, has done something to 
speak of. And a close sketch on the spot, well worked up 
afterwards, will carry any willing workman far towards that 
end. It is strange, by the way, when one considers the 
hundreds of sketches which have been made of the old and 
new Devil's Bridge from below, to think how seldom it has 
been even attempted from above. Mr. A. Hunt's beautiful 
water-colour drawing, and another indifferent one by an un- 
known hand, are the only representations I know of the whole 
height of the rocks above the bridge and the fall below it, 
which are really not seen from below. It is clearly better to 
choose well-known and often-treated subjects for the sake of 
study. ' Difficile est proprie communia dicere' In all con- 
science it is hard enough : and one is enabled to compare 
one's attempts at stock subjects with abler men's ; which is 
not only getting a lesson from Nature, but from them also. 
But be it remembered that the end of study is that a man 
shall be able to express himself, and have something of his 
own to express, and that he must push forward to subjects of 
his own. The world is all before him where to choose, and it 
is wide enough, and is fast becoming accessible enough. But 
at present we are talking of tools and materials, rules, models, 
and hints, pen-and-ink etching, and light and shade not of 
all the wilderness unconquered of what is to be done, but of 
how to do one's best. 

And when a certain power, i.e. correctness, fluency, subtlety 
and force of line, has been gained, by pen-and-ink, or hard- 
pencil drawing from Albert Diirer or photograph, then we 
must needs say, Let the pupil take to the brush, and, generally 
speaking, stick to it. In the first place, all important or per- 
manent works are done with a brush, and every willing worker 
has a chance of doing something one day which shall be of 
importance. Secondly, the feel and handling of a brush is 
different from the feel of a point ; and if the hand be kept 
too exclusively at the latter, it will not learn the former. 
Thirdly, a water-colour painter must learn (and an oil-painter 
will probably find it quite as necessary) to use the brush like 



DEFINITE FORMS. 289 

a double-edged sword, and habitually to draw forms with both 
its sides. We go back to the old motto, * Know what you 
have to do : ' and say that, in theory, every touch in a picture 
should have a form which shall be the result of knowledge or 
design, and conduce to the effect of the whole work. Now, 
making significant touches of this kind with a brush is 
altogether different from making them with a hard point, 
inasmuch as a form is not the same thing as a line. And 
though point-drawing is absolutely necessary for years of 
practice, and for studies of pure form throughout life, still 
the more difficult faculty of using both sides of the brush and 
putting a whole form on at once is necessary to all good 
landscape drawing, and cannot be gained without long practice 
with the brush. It is a much subtler tool than the crayon or 
pen, and much more powerful ; but for all that, elementary 
processes may be learnt by it as well as by the crayon. In 
as far as stippling and hatching are necessary to a work, they 
may be learnt with the brush ; and a fine or long-haired sable 
wilt draw as delicate and precise a line as a crow-quill, in 
practised hands. Besides, there is such a thing as being 
cramped and enslaved by lines : for, after all, Nature does 
not etch, but works by touches of shade and glazes of light. 
This we fear is a heresy in the view of our excellent Art- 
schools : but several of our leading painters are, we believe, 
inclined to recommend early use of the brush, in light and 
shade only ; and to allow it to be employed in elementary 
studies : and Prof. Ruskin's instructions recognize it as soon as 
steadiness and the power of gradation have been obtained in 
pen and ink. This may apply mainly to those who begin 
drawing comparatively late in life. No doubt children had 
better be kept to pencil and chalk drawing. But they and 
their elders too require encouragement as well as discipline ; 
and the great encouragement in drawing is a little permitted 
waste of time with advanced tools. Every reader likes to 
look on a leaf or two ahead now and then. 

This may be illustrated from the works of Turner. Art- 
schools were not in his day, or were not for him. He began 
as young men and maidens begin at our own time, by frankly 
trying to draw Nature and put on natural colour. He found 

u 



290 TURNER. 

it would not do. And so he began again, learning straight 
lines and accurate proportion by years of pencil outlines of 
architecture, and other matter ; then he went through years of 
light and shade, and faint water-colour : but he never resigned 
the brush from the first, until the life went out of his aged and 
cunning hands. He kept to elementary colours, but claimed 
the workman's tools from the first : and so we think others 
should do. It has been set forth already that as soon as the 
pupil has got on far enough to copy a cast, he- ought to do it 
first in correct outline, then in water-colour or oil-monochrome. 
He may continue at this till he can do it well ; that is to say, 
for months or years. But at the end of those years he will 
take up colour all the better for having learnt to lay shades 
on in definitely shaped patches ; which is 'the great arcanum, 
of the original water-colourist at least. Turner's grey-paper 
sketches are allowed to be conclusive as models of rapid and 
elaborate drawing. They will be found to be created by 
colour laid on in definite form, All the forms of the grass 
and vegetation on a hill-side are put in with rapid suggestive 
touches, in green and yellow, all of traceable and designed 
shape, but which look quite accidentally right. Then all the 
rocks which crop out are put in among them with another 
series of significant touches in dark grey and purple: and 
there is the work, with a pretty fair prospect of immortality 
while its paper holds together 1 . 

Those who have gone over any considerable part, or who 
have even looked attentively through any fairly well-selected 
series, of Turner's sketches, will have noticed, among many 
things, how very wide his range was for his time. Real Swiss 
and Italian landscape has hardly been attempted in water- 

1 It would be of immense advantage to all students of Landscape Art if the Art- 
schools in some of our principal cities could be allowed for a time to possess con- 
nected series of Turner's drawings and sketches. These might be selected from the 
vast number in the National Collections, and entrusted to the schools for the use 
of somewhat advanced pupils. Any which shew his true manner of working 
which was simple in itself, and complicated by reason of vast knowledge and ex- 
traordinary power of eye would be of great value, especially to the more thoughtful 
students. The beautiful collection lately presented by Prof. Ruskin to the University 
of Oxford is a very perfect example of such an educational collection. Far fewer 
and less valuable specimens would give instruction which could hardly be obtained 
in any other way. 



HIS RAPIDITY. 291 

colour till within the last thirty years. Nobody ever really 
drew a glacier before Turner's Mer de Glace in the ' Liber 
Studiorum ' or for about fifty years after. Nor do we know 
of any real study of Italian landscape before his time ; that 
is to say, of any close representation of its natural features. 
It will be admitted that whatever be the merits of the classical 
landscape, it will not furnish models or principles for the 
sketcher in our own days. But Turner was one of the earliest 
and farthest-ranging of travelling sketchers. It was probably 
the difficulties of locomotion in those days which forced upon 
him, what he always seems to have understood so much better 
than any one else before or after him the vast difference 
between sketching on a journey, and painting at home with 
all conveniences. Railroads, steamers, Pre-Rafaelite prin- 
ciples, and portable tents and easels, have introduced far 
closer study of Nature in these days ; and of course when 
we get in consequence such pictures as those of Brett, Inch- 
bold, Goodwin and the two surviving Hunts, we can only rejoice 
in the change. But now, as men gain this power of elaboration 
they seem to give up all hope or notion of rapid work. But this 
has its weakness as well as its strength. If no landscape is to 
be painted, or at least exhibited, which has not been painted 
entirely on the spot and in the open air ; or if no subject is 
to be attempted which the artist is not certain he can master 
then we have nothing more to say, and all we have said 
falls to the ground. With it goes all sane encouragement to 
sketchers as a class 1 . With it goes Turner, and with him all 
the modern landscapists except the very latest, and the old 
masters are gone long ago. As a method of study, elaborate 
practice from Nature of course stands before all others ; but 
it is impossible to consider it as a limit to landscape Art. 
This is especially true in our own time, when distant travel is 
open almost to every one, and when the resulting pictures are 
so intensely interesting, if they have anything like faithful 
likeness and portraiture in them. Lewis and Holman Hunt 

1 On this subject Mr. Hamerton's works, particularly Thoughts on Art, deserve 
the most careful reading. I cannot tell why, but it is certainly a good sign for the 
future of landscape Art in America, that his books are more popular there than here. 

U 2 



292 THE RED SEA SHORE. 

have certainly painted elaborate Eastern scenes, which ought 
to be studied most attentively by every traveller who means 
drawing, either in city or desert. Seddon's picture at Kensing- 
ton should be perused inch by inch, and Werner's and Vacher's 
works in water-colour deserve attention. But on an Eastern 
journey a man must draw many things as he can ; that is to 
say, as carefully as time, sand, sun, mosquitoes, and Fellaheen 
will let him. The world will be glad of any true notes of what 
Sinai and Mount Hor are really like in colour and form. 

I remember a first Desert sketch, under the following cir- 
cumstances. It was at Ayoun Mousa, opposite Suez, the scene 
of a very charming picture of Goodall's, where the figures are 
superior to the landscape 1 , and that is very beautiful. It 
was a wild sunset, such as I think is not seen except near 
the Poles or near the Tropics 2 . This is a note of it in pen 
and ink : 

' A strange double scene, at the water's edge on the shallow 
shore. Dead calm, with an advancing tide fast swallowing up 
the flat beach, and filling various " still salt pools, locked in 
by bars of sand," almost without a ripple. Looking east, 
these pools reflected the rose-coloured mountains of the Tih 
(Desert of Wanderings), monotonous in form, yet many 
crested, and all flaming with the red sun which was going 
down in all his strength behind Gebl Attakah. All the 
crystals and mica in the plain sparkled red : the yellow sands 
were touched with vermilion, and the whole was reflected and 
repeated at one's feet in the broad shallow pools. Turning 
round, there was another picture : the long line of Gebl 

1 It will be against our principles to disparage Mr. Goodall's picture for looking, 
as it does, as if it had been painted in Cairo or at home. But the gill's figure, 
though quite lovely, is that of an idealized Egyptian, and the man is not dark 
enough for a Tor Arab, though his drawn and sharpened expression of thirst is 
admirable. But compare Lewis's great Sinai picture, or the lately exhibited 
scene in the Convent Court-yard in Cairo. The Bedouin there carry the whole desert 
in their faces, as well as in their subtly expressed repose up to the last moment 
which indeed characterizes all Oriental men of action. 

2 I think the forms of cloud in the East (when one sees any cloud at all) and 
those in Arctic Norway are particularly beautiful and characteristic. They are 
certainly more sharply defined than elsewhere, both cirri and cumuli. The 
Northern sunset colour is quite equal to the Eastern, indeed some of its nameless 
crimsons are unequalled. Fused rubies might be something like them. 



SINAI. 293 

Attakah, deep solemn purple, and long banks of barred clouds 
now flushed in pure crimsons, undescribable and inconceivable ; 
soon to exchange their many colours for soft gradation, 
from white moonlight to the purple blackness of Eastern 
darkness.' 

I had got off my camel, and made some sort of outline, and 
was beginning to try tints, when there came a gentle puff 
of the wind of the desert, and raised a small simoom of dust 
which in one instant filled all my tin colour-box, speckled all 
my first wash over, made all my brushes, &c., gritty for ever 
so long, and gave me a first lesson in a sketcher's Oriental 
troubles. After that I did what most men will have to do 
made careful outlines with a hard pencil, and matched 
tints with the brush on the spot ; or even wrote down the 
names of the actual paints I would use and laid colours on 
in tents. 

There are subjects enough in the Sinai desert alone to give 
an able sketcher employment for years ; and he might hope 
to produce pictures which would have a real value, and in 
time would be felt to possess it. Photographs give a good 
idea of the mountain range itself, but hardly of the extent 
and theatric slope of the Plain of the Camp, which fronts 
Ras Sassafeh, or Sinai proper, slope above slope and plateau 
above plateau, till the Hill of the Law seems to be the chief 
object of sight to every one who stands in the plain, and till 
one feels that to stand there is to ' stand before the Mount ' 
in a special sense l . Then the glorious view from Mount St. 
Catherine, and the still more interesting one from the highest 
precipices of Sinai itself, have been only recorded, as far as I 
know, by two feeble water-colours, which I have to answer for; 
one in the Royal Academy of 1865 and one in the Exhibition 
of British Artists last year. Again, there is the great waste of 
sands facing the Mount of Deliverance, to which Lewis and 
Goodall have only done partial justice ; neither of them dwel- 
ling on the vast sweep or golden colours of that most melan- 
choly shore, but the one on his perfectly realized group of 
Bedouins, the other on his most prettily idealized girl and 

1 One of Mr. Frith's photographs shews this admirably, and the illustrations 
made by the late Sinai Survey are almost exhaustive, as far as photograph can go. 



294 NORWAY. 

camel-driver. Then there is the deserted hill-top of Surabut- 
el-Khadem, with its blood-red sandstone flaming across the 
Debbet-er-Ramleh at sunset and sunrise ; and chief of all there 
is Feiran, the great oasis, the loveliest place on earth. Nor has 
Petra ever received anything like justice : and though the 
strong hand of Holman Hunt has been stretched over the 
Dead Sea, Gennesaret remains ; and somebody ought to give 
an idea of its beauty. Perhaps one man only, Mr. Lear, has 
thrown himself with the true landscape spirit on the scenery 
of the East, and has made pure landscape his motive, without 
degrading it into mere background for Bedouin and dragomen, 
goats, camels, and chibouques, and tarbooshes, and papooshes, 
and all the rest of it. His works seem almost invaluable as 
rapid and accurate records of Eastern Nature ; but they are 
sadly ' ill to find.' Roberts's sketches are of course valuable 
as far as they go ; but they will not seem to go far enough, to 
any one whose eye has been educated to accurate observation 
of Nature, whether by Pre-Rafaelitism, which is accuracy in 
foreground objects as seen ; or by Turner, who represents 
accuracy in distances as seen under various circumstances ; 
or by the study of Brett's works, which represent supreme 
accuracy in both foreground and distance ; with change, 
motion, and imaginative force in some degree sacrificed 
to it. 

It seems to me that the coast and fiord scenery of Norway 
are opening an almost boundless field to our landscape pain- 
ters. Mr. West's waterfalls are admirable, and the late 
Mr. Rosenberg produced some very true and pleasing draw- 
ings of Norsk subject. But neither of them have dwelt 
on the sea ; and it is the eternal comparison of the sea and 
mountains which gives their peculiar charm and power to the 
coasts of Scotland and Norway. That power is vaguely felt 
even by the dullest tourist, and often commented on in words : 
but it is hardly expressed in Art, unless it be by Turner, and 
latterly in some of the Harlech drawings of Mr. A. Hunt 1 . 
Contrast is felt between the solidity of earth and the changing 
mirror of water, in time of calm, when Loch Hourn or the 
Hardanger-fiord are as blue steel or glass, reflecting all the 

1 Mr. Powell's work in this direction seems to me to possess the highest qualities. 



ANALOGIES. 295 

wounds of the battered giants which hold them bound in bars 
of stone. Again, there is the contrast of elemental combat, 
when the Western trumpets sound onset, and the sea rises 
mountainously in forms which mock, with their eternal wrath 
and change, the granite pyramids that alter not. And the 
restless tide with its ordered power of motion is continually at 
work, cleaving and smoothing, building and undermining, 
stripping and clothing, rending and closing, full of life and 
of destruction, Change itself personified : and so it contrasts 
with the hills which look so immoveable, yet slowly yield to 
change. The really grand amount of what is called Feeling 
in modern English landscape-painting shews how possible, 
and perhaps easy, it is to illustrate and suggest trains of 
thought like this by landscape : and every one who has the 
gift of doing this does wrong in not labouring for so much 
technical skill, as shall enable him to do it clearly and im- 
pressively. 

For every licence in rapid sketching must be paid for, or 
rather anticipated by, accurate study of form at home, and by 
thoughtful observation on the spot. No one can hope ever to 
paint his impressions or realize them intelligibly, if he does 
not strive in every way to clear and deepen them as he re- 
ceives them, to think them over and analyse them, to study 
the scene which has touched his spirit. Then every line or 
touch in his drawing will be the symbol of a thought, and 
either mean something, or be a necessary part of a meaning. 
Practice of this kind and in this spirit fully justifies hasty 
sketching. Such haste is not carelessness ; for accuracy and 
finish are nothing more in any picture than additions of well- 
chosen thoughts and facts, made in a skilful way, intelligently 
and intelligibly. And observant sketching is of all things the 
best to educate the mind, eye, and hand into right selection 
and clear and copious expression of congruous facts in a pic- 
ture ; that is to say, of facts which all fall in with and intensify 
or ornament the motive or theme of a picture. For every im- 
portant landscape has its theme, recurring again and again to 
the musing mind of the artist, brought out again and again in 
fresh lights and new colours and relations, with fresh notes to 
introduce it, to throw it out, to vary and recall it. It is use- 



296 FATIGUE. 

less to follow the close analogy between light and shade and 
colour in painting and the same in music ; or try to analyse 
how strangely harmony and contrast, change and repose, are 
brought in on the spirit of man by these sister arts. For 
painters rightly prefer expression to analysis, and represent 
things rather than take them to pieces. The value of their 
work depends on the amount of the inexpressible which they 
manage to express in it : and the importance of success makes 
carelessness in pursuit quite inexcusable. The only reason for 
which a person of sense can want to draw ' a little ' is that he 
may be led to want to draw more, and to proceed from trifling 
successes, which please himself and his friends, to serious and 
probably laborious efforts, by which his friends and he may 
learn something. Life is too short to faddle with anything, 
least of all with Art ; and it is the sense of this which sets 
such a barrier between artists and amateurs. The former feel 
that they are giving their lives to what the others care but 
little about, and feel that the public think their lives are passed 
in pursuing a mere amusement, while they are really straining 
every mental nerve all day long. ' I amuse myself with Art,' 
says the regular amateur, washing and sponging away at his 
copy of Rowbotham. Real Art is not amusing, thinks the 
workman labouring out his thoughts ; it is a weariness, like 
the sea that spreads ever wider l . It takes too much work and 
life out of man to be treated as a bye-play ' it rather deserves 
to be pursued alone, without "parerga," to distract a man's 
mind from it V 

1 Tintoret. 2 Arist. Eth. Nic. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



TREE-DRAWING. 

A FEW remarks on Tree-drawing seems a necessary addi- 
tion to the chapter on Sketching, as trees are almost 
invariably the first objects which a student attempts to draw 
from Nature out of doors, and as they first meet him with all 
the embarrassments of regular open-air work. The amateur 
says he or she finds trees very difficult the regular workman 
knows that they are in fact impossible, as no human labour or 
power can render their intricacy, their change, their character, 
and subtle motion. It will be of great use to any student to 
watch and make occasional sketches of the same tree or group 
of trees in different weathers, and at different seasons. Any 
one who will do so will see that it is impossible for us to 
exhaust the subject of tree-drawing here ; or indeed to give 
more than one good example of the best conventionalism, and 
a few hints for practice. Without a large number of illus- 
trations in colour it would be impossible to demonstrate the 
changes and varied beauty of leaves and branches ; and every 
attentive person may see them all for himself from month to 
month. These pages have been almost entirely taken up with 
recipe and practical rules, excepting when they have been 
engaged on matters of history : and little, after all, has been 
said of the habit of artistic observation or note-taking ; though 
the importance of a well-stored memory has been everywhere 
assumed. Country life and habits of course give more and 
better opportunities of collecting natural knowledge ; though 
it often happens that the habitual dweller in cities is more 
observant, because of the keener pleasure he feels in less- 
accustomed beauty. But all may have plenty of opportunities 



298 CHANGES OF THE FEAR. 

for watching the differences between bare branches, red and 
purple with buds soon to open, and wintry branches forgetful 
of sap and circulation ; or the same boughs fringed and pow- 
dered over with bursting green points ; or, again, scantily 
clothed at first with emerald green in spring ; or full-dressed 
in early summer, with delicate yellow-green, their strong boles 
and main branches telling dark among the leaves ; or again, 
in the deep strength of August growth, when grey, or green 
lichened, stems are lighter than foliage bronzed with long sun- 
shine ; or with the first fringes and sparks of September yellow 
defining every form, and adding beauty to beauty ; or again, 
as summer black-green, ' faded yet full,' glows out in brown 
and orange and russet and scarlet, and the whole orchestra of 
colour bursts out with a crash, before the challenge of the 
autumn winds, and before golden leaves, like 

' Golden lads and girls, all must 
Pass away and turn to dust.' 

To watch these changes for a year, and their various effect on 
different trees, will give any man a kind of fruitful knowledge 
of the look and the ways of oak and ash and thorn. He will 
take to them and swear by their names as of old : and when 
he draws them, there will be a spirit and character in his 
work : and if he has anyhow followed our former directions 
within doors, he will have secured himself a fair turn of skill 
and precision as well. 

For rules have really been given for tree-drawing as for all 
other work. Make your mind up steadily and irrevocably to 
the form you will have in your picture ; whether it be a 
motionless form, such as you can sit and study in the open air 
for weeks, or if it be the wild struggling lines of a tree in storm, 
which you must fix on your mind at a glance. Decide on it, 
block it out, draw it in, firmly or finely. You must, as a rule, 
lay on this form flat, in your lightest tint of colour first ; or^ 
you can begin with the half-tint, leaving out the high lights 
and strong darks, and fitting them in afterwards like a mosaic. 
If you are using autumn tints and want high colour, lay on the 
first form in yellow and sienna, and paint scarlets, purples, and 
browns into it, attending to form in all your touches. Or if 



HARD ING'S EXERCISES. 299 

you are putting in masses in distance, a half-tint first may be 
most convenient, and the lights may be taken out and painted 
over. But in all cases, knowledge of form is everything : 
knowledge, that is to say, first of the typical shape and form 
of leaves and masses in each tree, and secondly of the broad 
principles of growth, in which all trees seem to be agreed. 
The fifth volume of ' Modern Painters ' is a perfect and com- 
plete book of reference on the latter subject. And all the 
chapters which describe the way in which a tree builds itself 
up shoot by shoot and year by year ; its difficulties, compro- 
mises, loss and gain ; especially how it contains the record of 
all in its wood, and carries its own history, are as exact in 
truth, as they are instructive in the noble analogies which they 
suggest. Nothing in this part of ' Modern Painters ' should 
be omitted : and all who have time should verify Mr. Ruskin's 
observations from Nature. But for first lessons in tree-drawing, 
valuable help is to be got from the works of Harding. All 
who are beginning to sketch out of doors will find his Lessons 
on Trees very useful at first. They help one to a graceful and 
intelligible conventionalism of form ; and his more advanced 
lithographic drawings may be copied in sepia, or even trans- 
lated into colour. We wish our student to advance beyond 
them, and to gain power of original tree-drawing ; for the fact 
is, that it will not do to rest as a contented disciple of Hard- 
ing ; it is quite possible to be able to have acquired some 
power of expressing tree-form in his language, and yet to be 
quite unable to go out and make even a tolerable study of an 
actual tree, in a veritable park or forest. But his system of 
drawing a tree is the same as that which we have already given 
for drawing the figure. First the stem and main branches, 
which determine the form of the masses of leaves, are blocked 
out or perhaps drawn. Then the forms of the masses of 
foliage are outlined with broad waving curves, which are after- 
wards filled up with the leaves and boughs ; the shade being 
put in afterwards with great attention to form and character. 
Harding's use of definite forms of shade is everywhere highly 
instructive, and his lithographs of the under or shaded side of 
branches alone, without outline, ought to be well studied. . A 
little practice in free-hand drawing will enable the student to 



300 FURTHER STUDIES. 

understand and imitate the wild and graceful curves of his 
foliage : but at the same time he must always try to verify the 
works he copies from Nature : to find and study oaks and elms 
like his master's. Nothing can give so good an insight into 
the work of both master and pupil. 

Harding takes the foliage of the elm as his typical form, 
shewing that others may be learnt from it with slight altera- 
tion. It seems to us that the hand-shape, which is his con- 
ventional type-form for a bunch of leaves, is rather more 
like the ash. Photography and the increased demand for 
accurate drawing certainly make it necessary for both painters 
and students to attempt further realization, and press on to 
the study of Titian l and Turner. But a sketcher should 
practise Harding's curves and radiating bunches till his hand 
will produce them correctly and quite easily : he will then 
find it easy to alter their form and make them as angular as 
oak-boughs, as long and delicate as birch, as soft as willow, 
and as sharp as holly ; and he will also learn easy expressions 
for the radiating leaves of chestnut, and the needles of spruce 
and pine. But he will never draw masses till he has drawn 
leaves : and the real way to take up tree-drawing, after a little 
copying from Harding, is to take a spray of not more than 
seven leaves and copy it faithfully twice, in light and shade, 
and afterwards in colour. Then another of a cluster of leaves 
on a bough, about eighteen inches long, set up eight feet from 
the eye. Let it be drawn at first in profile or long-ways as a 
mass, running the leaves into each other where they cross each 
other, and making their form well out : then again, look at 
them end on, and draw them foreshortened, in both cases 
paying great attention to the spring of the boughs. Two 
plates in ' Modern Painters,' vol. v., called 'The Dryad's Toil' 
and ' The Dryad's Waywardness ' are beautiful examples of 
this method of study, and any one who follows it faithfully is 
likely to gain the great and rare power of giving a look of 
vitality and growth to his near foliage. And all in distance 
ociyiiiddle-distance is easy to him who can make a successful 
struggle with his nearer sprays. 

1 Among Mr. Philpot's Florentine photographs are some very beautiful tree- 
drawings by Titian. 



TOUCH AND STYLE, 301 

This work may be done in chalk, though we prefer a quill- 
pen and ink or colour for it, with a wash of sepia in different 
shades afterwards. Let the sketcher begin to work in sepia 
after the manner of Turner's ' Liber Studiorum.' And when 
he has made fair progress, so that he knows enough about trees 
to understand and delight in that work, then let him take up 
some of its plates, and do his best with them tracing their 
lines if he will, or accurately blocking out and copying them ; 
or it may be better to trace them in pencil and go over the 
lines again in ink with careful imitation of the copy. This 
last seems almost the best method of facsimile-ing Turner's 
lines ; and nothing short of a facsimile ought to content a 
trained draughtsman studying trees of the great master of 
woodland. 

It is very possible that you may not like the ' Liber 
Studiorum' etching given in this chapter for study and for 
copying (it should be done at twice its size here). But have 
faith, and practise it over and over again. When you can 
outline some of its groups freely and exactly, and command 
your pen or pencil so as to imitate some of its bunches of 
foliage freely, you will have gained a power of sketching trees 
in outline which will avail you wherever you go. Turner will 
teach you to express the character, habits, and perhaps the 
history, of the favourite English trees in particular ; and also, 
perhaps with slightly diminished power, of the Swiss or 
spruce fir, the stone pine, the cypress, and Spanish chestnut. 
And no one can copy his lines without gathering vigour of 
expression from them. To appreciate them thoroughly 
requires a fair degree of knowledge both of trees and of 
drawing ; but every one who has learnt really to like them will 
find his own work always more graphic, and his choice of 
leading lines more accurate and telling. He will see at all 
events that every touch of Turner's is a thought, or new idea ; 
that the forms are not, as Harding's sometimes are, graceful 
repetitions of a type in the mind, but all distinct inventions or 
recollections, drawn from a kind of internal sea of knowledge. 
In other words, the thought follows the hand, or rather guides 
it, so closely in his work, that imitating it must necessarily 
add to one's knowledge, as drawing from nature adds to it. 



302 MIXED HUES. 

All that is said about a man's peculiar touch or style, as has 
been said, means no more than his special way of expres- 
sing special facts which he is especially fond of or familiar 
with ; and nothing can prove this more satisfactorily than 
the etched lines of the ' Liber Studiorum.' 

A few scales of colour for trees at different seasons may be 
inserted here. We do not mean to say they are the best, but 
they will do to begin with, and may be varied according to 
feeling and experience. 

In spring, the highest or purest greens will be best matched 
with a mixture of emerald green and gamboge ; yellow 
ochre may also be used with the emerald green, as it is 
particularly sunny in its effect. These greens may be 
warmed with a little burnt sienna or lake, and deepened 
and shaded with small admixtures of Indian red and indigo 
or Prussian blue. This is for foreground : as the trees retire 
into middle-distance, cobalt, with a little white, should be 
substituted for the indigo ; and in extreme distance the green 
must pass almost into yellow ochre for masses of sunshine, 
and into grey for shadow the best and purest grey of dis- 
tance in almost all cases will be found in some combination 
of cobalt or ultramarine ash with rose madder. Again, the 
strongest and smallest touches of deep transparent shade in 
foreground may be put in by adding lake or Vandyke brown 
to the deepest greens. A lighter tint of the same will do 
well for shadowed parts of the larger stems and branches : 
for where light plays on them, and dapples them, it must be 
fearlessly represented in yellow or green, so that that part of 
a stem may be perhaps only a shade or two darker than the 
bright leaves. Correct grammar of colour, as has so often been 
said, is impossible where near or bright light is concerned. 

Summer leaves are dark, and the Prussian blue, raw or 
burnt sienna, and Indian red, will come into the yellows and 
pale greens in larger proportion ; or the useful mixture of 
raw sienna, cobalt, and brown madder may be used to vary 
it, in masses of shade. Of course the nearer the shade is 
brought to the eye the clearer it ought to look, and the more 
it must be represented by transparent colours. 

Autumn colour may be anything : as the emerald green 



PINE AND FIR. 303 

reappears (with the brightest chromes) in the fading tints of 
lime, aspen, and poplar leaves ; while other trees may vary 
from dark brown to absolutely burning scarlet under sunset 
light. We have seen birches and beeches look absolutely 
like pillars of fire on October evenings. But one of the most 
singular effects of contrasted colour we ever beheld, at least 
in the course of the last twenty years, was from a place 
familiar to many of our readers no other than the towing- 
path of the Isis, opposite the ' bouquet ' or ' bosquet ' (either 
word will do) of small elms and alders on the projecting 
Oxfordshire bank below Irfley Mill. There were the clear 
flames of a scarlet sunset over Bagley, just at their brightest ; 
every leaf of the Iffley trees was like a plate of red-hot gold : 
and they were so broad and still, that little change or shade 
was noticeable : below, towards the water, they sobered into 
bright yellow and red-brown, and then the hollows of the 
shaded bank formed a dark neutral contrast. They were 
reflected clearly in very dark, clear olive green autumnal 
water, which caught the aquamarine light of the sky in its 
few and regular ripples. Behind the trees there was crys- 
talline turquoise-green sky, quite cloudless, pure cold light 
against clear fire ; and in the sky was a broad clear full- 
moon, rising in slow strength, trembling above the scarlet 
flashes in the faint undulation of the dark river. I remember 
no such other effect of colour in a flat country ; but parallel 
scenes are easy to find, and I have put down a reminiscence of 
it here, thinking that some one may watch this autumn 
for a like effect. Cadmium, carmine, and emerald green, 
mitigated with cobalt and glazed with yellow light 1 , would 
have to be used copiously, with smalt, I think, in the shadow- 
purples. 

It is very difficult to find any type of pine-drawing which 
can be recommended as not only perfect, but complete in 
instructiveness. The spruce firs in the corner of Turner's 
' Source of the Arveiron ' are perfect, but they do not contain 
all about the pine. As Prof. Ruskin remarks, they are pines 

1 Yellow ochre for cadmium and emerald green will not mix, but destroy each 
other. Yellow madder, with various blues, makes lovely warm greens. I think 
there is more light in yellow ochre than in any other yellow. 



304 CEPHALUS AND PROCRIS. 

in an abnormal condition, pushed from off their natural 
perpendicular by the thrust of the near glacier and its 
moraine-stones. But they have all the character of the pine 
in them : and the broad stone-pines of other plates are all- 
sufficient. Some of Calame's lithographs of Swiss fir are 
picturesque and good as far as they go. In drawing the 
forms of a well-grown spruce, the idea of successive plates 
or tables of verdure all round it, very like spread hands on 
all sides l , may help the student ; at all events it will preserve 
him from approach to the old type of a straight stick with 
two rows of horizontal arms, like a flat-fish's bones. For 
colour, you may descend from emerald green and gamboge, 
through any admixture of Indian red and indigo, to purple 
and Vandyke brown in deep shade under the branches. But 
it must be noticed that all pines turn purple, or steel-blue at 
least (brown madder and cobalt), at comparatively short dis- 
tances, and that the far-off pine may be dark green, but does 
not look dark green, but purple, when you come to match the colour. 
Therefore, and finally, let the student at all times manfully 
match his colours for himself from Nature, by holding up his 
hues in shade against the object. If he will do this, or try to 
do it, in all landscape study, he will find himself painting, out 
of his own head, in colours something like Turner's : nor can 
any happier discovery for a young colourist well be imagined. 
To tree-drawing there is no end, and the student ought now 
to be able to begin it for himself : and in all early stages of his 
work he cannot go wrong in consulting the many beautiful 
studies of foliage to be found in our Water-colour Exhibitions. 
Let him not try to pick up anybody's touch or anybody's 
favourite effect ; but go straightforwardly to any picture in 
which he recognizes a natural effect, and ask it how its author 
did his work. In water-colour he will generally be able to 
discover this well enough ; and lessons so obtained will make 
his visits to the galleries profitable enough to him, till he is 
strong enough to have a will and a way of his own. For the 
illustration 'Cephalus and Procris' I have to thank Prof. Ruskin 

1 Knowledge of perspective, or that unconscious attention to its rules which is 
produced by the habit of careful drawing, is of special value in dealing with fir- 
branches. We have already insisted on it in requiring the upil to draw branches 
both ways, in profile and ' end on ' to himself. 



ETCHING. 305 

to whom so much is due already in this book. It has been 
selected for various reasons, after some deliberation. I 
may mention that it is a photograph from one of those 
extremely rare etchings by Turner's own hand, which 
were taken in limited number from the plates of the 
'Liber Studiorum' before the mezzotint ground was 
laid upon them. An attempt to explain the process by 
which these plates were produced may be made here, 
as an account of etching and mezzotint engraving is 
not altogether out of place ; and I never yet found any 
ordinary Englishman, amateur draughts-man or not, who 
understood what mezzotint engraving means, unless it was 
his trade. 

These plates were first etched, i.e. Turner took the bright 
piece of copper, heated it, melted some wax thinly on to it, 
and smoked the coating of wax over a candle till it was quite 
even and black. Then he probably set his original sk'etch 
(they are all at South Kensington) before a looking-glass, and 
drew it thus reversed, on the wax covering scratching and 
digging vigorously through to the metal 1 . Then he poured 
aquafortis on the plate 2 , which ' bit ' into the metal along the 
lines, and left the wax. On wiping off his wax ground with 
the help of oil, he thus had the lines of his sketch, drawn 
with his own hand deeply in the copper. The plate then 
went into the hands of the engraver, who 'grounded it,' i.e. 
went over it repeatedly with a fine-toothed instrument like a 
small currycomb, till its surface was evenly and perfectly 
destroyed or roughened all over. In this state it would have 
uniformly printed as black as ink, and even the deep-bitten lines 
of the etching would have been hardly visible 3 . But Turner 

1 The student may make a tracing first on the waxed plate, reversing his trans- 
parent-paper copy to get its lines in reverse. 

2 The best way is to make a wall of wax round the edges, and pour on the 
corrosive, which will bubble as it does its work. The time of active operation, 
from the first general bubbling, varies, according as you are etching on copper or 
steel. Firm lines will take an hour to bite, in copper : on steel, three or four 
minutes will suffice, in a warm room. But all processes connected with etching 
have been so greatly advanced, that I must refer any reader who wishes to take up 
this branch of Art to the works of Mr. Hamerton. 

3 I have to thank Mr. Lupton, the well-known engraver, for some kind instruc- 
tion in mezzotint, ten years ago. 

X 



306 CEP HAL US AND PROCRIS. 

himself, or some engraver with his help, would now scrape 
away the lights and paler shades, with a thin sharp erasing- 
knife, until the high lights shewed a perfectly bright surface 
of metal once more ; and till other parts were so far polished 
as to retain the right quantity of ink, and print no darker 
than he wished. Successive proofs would of course be taken 
to test the process, until the whole plate was finished to 
Turner's satisfaction. It printed like a drawing in light and 
shade, with the original etching telling out vigorously as a 
skeleton of the whole. The photograph is from the plate as 
it first left Turner's hands, before the mezzotint ground was 
laid ; when it was a bright sheet of copper with the etched 
lines upon it. The mezzotint plate resembles a dim light- 
and-shade drawing. 

The tree-trunks are the great objects of study in ' Cephalus 
and Procris :' but the foliage-drawing ought to be traced and 
gone over repeatedly till you can follow its changes faithfully. 
It is no use drawing nonsense-foliage ; and simple imitation 
of Harding is sure to end in merely flourishing away with his 
radiating bunches in a quite senseless way. Turner's leaves 
have all different turns in them and do not lie one over 
another like scales, and this alone would make them the best 
known type of conventional tree-drawing. All tree-drawing 
is conventional, we say ; but a highly expressive style of doing 
it in line, once gained, will lead you to the highest possible 
realization. Notice in particular the spring of the lower 
foliage and brushwood round the trunks ; and how much is 
conveyed in all their lines : and above all, compare the figures 
with the trees. It is easy for any person with eyes in his 
head to understand the languor of coming death in the form 
of the fainting nymph, and the clasp of the husband's arm, 
and the hand which dares not draw out the bitter arrow : and 
above all, the distress and apprehension expressed by the 
ears and back of the hound. Feeling this, you will gradually 
see also how all the clusters of vegetation express minor facts 
in their smaller and subtler way ; and understand how great 
is the sum of graphic power in those broad lines. It is a 
question how far the light and shade in the plate adds to 



EXPRESSION. 



307 



their power, as given in our photograph : much is gained by 
it, but something is lost ; and the longer one looks at the pure 
lines the more one will feel their absolute sufficiency, and the 
difficulty of estimating the measureless power of mind and 
hand which produced them. 



X 2 



CHAPTER IX. 

PROCESSES OF WALL-PAINTING. 

AS the words 'Fresco ' and ' Tempera' have been repeatedly 
used in these pages, some little account of them seems 
necessary. It seems beyond the scope of an elementary book 
to attempt any detailed description of the processes, or give 
any special rules. Michael Angelo's saying about pure 
fresco, ' that it is work for men, and oil-painting for women 
or sedentary persons/ may be the text of our excuse. This 
book is not for thorough workmen or masters ; and fresco 
ought in theory to be used by the most highly trained and 
powerful painters. The ideal master ought, one would say, 
to amass knowledge of form and colour, materials and 
vehicles, by the use of oil and water-colour; and then to 
have opportunities of shewing his full powers by being made 
to work at their full stretch, under the difficult, but most 
exciting and stimulating, conditions of pure fresco. Having 
acquired full power of expressing whatever is in him, he shall 
be called on to express it with pithy force and splendid 
brevity : he shall speak like a Spartan, with trenchant meaning 
and without ornament, or recall, or possibility of retouching. 
It was the excitement which attaches to pure fresco which 
made the great master pronounce so strongly in its favour. 
And what renders his words decisive is the fact that they 
were uttered while he was labouring on those paintings in 
the Sistine, which produced so great an effect on the mind 
of Rafael, in the midst of his own labours in fresco. For 
Rafael's third or Roman style, whether it was in him a change 
for the better or not, really dates from the influence of Michael 
Angelo on his mind. It will hardly do to say that Rafael's 



RAFAEL AND MICHAEL ANGELO. 309 

vast reputation owes much to the beauty of his character, 
mind, and even person ; for that would seem to detract from 
the fame due to his works. But we have often thought that 
the special beauties of all his paintings (unless it be the too 
academic Transfiguration, and others of the latest period) 
have a certain relation to the tender deep-eyed face in the 
Uffizii, and the other portraits of him 1 . But if he needed 
eternal honour, his tribute to the mighty Angelo, whom 
meaner men hated and thwarted, would secure it him effec- 
tually, ' I thank God that I have lived in the time of Michael 
Angelo.' And doubtless his own fame as a painter, no less 
than Buonarotti's, will depend on his frescoes in the Stanze 
of the Vatican, rather than on works in oil. We judge of 
men's strength, after all, by trial in regular tours de force ; 
and fresco is such a trial to a painter. We hope many of our 
students may live to shew their powers in it. But we can 
only give a brief account of different terms connected with 
the subject of mural decoration. We dismiss at once the 
popular use of the word ' fresco ' as expressive of all sorts of 
wall-painting indiscriminately, and proceed to distinguish in 
two ways : according to the ground used for the colours, 
and the medium used with the colours. The broad principle 
of division is into tempera any medium, on dry plaster ; and 
fresco water-colours on wet plaster. We will take the most 
frequently used names the first, though tempera is far the 
most ancient and universal process. Pure fresco, or buon 
fresco, is painting with colours made up with water and lime, 
on a fresh laid plaster of silver-sand and lime. Everything 
must be completed while the ground is moist ; and it dries 
rapidly : hence it admits of no retouching, and a large work 
has to be done in patches : so that the painter has additional 
difficulty in concealing his joinings between one day's work 
and another. 

The last coat of plaster, on which the colours are laid, is 
called intonaco. The colours used must of course be those 
only which are not affected by lime : but calcined gypsum, 
or plaster of Paris, is said to answer as well as lime, without 

1 One of the most significant and beautiful is the very early drawing by his own 
hands in the Randolph Gallery at Oxford. 



310 BUON FRESCO AND FRESCO SEC CO. 

injuring the more delicate hues, whether it be used as intonaco 
or worked up with the colours. This is the true fresco of the 
great masters, at the end of the fourteenth century : on the 
freshly spread plaster of a wall. 

Fresco secco dry fresco, half fresco, or Florentine fresco, is 
on dry or old plaster. Lime is used with the colours, and the 
plaster is well wetted overnight and during the painting. The 
colours dry into the lime perfectly, and are quite durable, but 
they have not the brightness and transparency of real fresco. 
This method is preferred, however, for ornamental paintings, 
as it has the advantage of requiring no joinings, like true 
fresco, and the complicated forms of ornament make it im- 
possible to bring the joinings to the outlines, which is the best 
way of disguising them. There is a picture in fresco secco 
by Giotto in the National Gallery (No. 276), Two Apostles, 
taken from the chapel of S. John Baptist in the Carmine at 
Florence. 

These two methods may be, and m fact always have been, 
combined in various ways. Buon fresco joinings are painted 
over in dry fresco ; or a whole design is laid hastily in in buon 
fresco and completed at leisure after it is dry. This avoids 
the joinings, and seems to be a good method for works of 
ordinary size. Michael Angelo's frescoes in the Sistine are 
retouched at the joinings with methodical and careful hatch- 
ings in parallel lines : but this was probably done in tempera. 

As it is extremely difficult to gradate a coat of colour in 
fresco, or even to get a flat tint over a large space, the pro- 
cesses of hatching and stippling are of great importance to 
the painter. Our chapters on Chalk Drawing and on Finish 
may be referred to on these points. But the advanced student 
will find in all his painting, that very much is to be done by 
varying the hue with which he stipples. No rules can be 
given for the process. He must take every opportunity of 
observing the works of the late W. Hunt, and noticing how 
particles of contrasted colour are used in them. There are 
frequent passages in Turner's water-colours, from shade to 
light (as in storm-clouds against the sun) which are stippled 
or worked with great exactness of touch, and gradated change 
of colour from cold to warm ; the shade being purple on the 



THE VAN EYCKS. -*>\\ 

dark side of the cloud, and brown, deep yellow, or pale 
crimson on the light : still telling as form and drawing. One 
such passage well studied, with attempts to imitate it, will 
teach the painter much, and enable him to learn more. 

The word ' tempera ' means any medium or vehicle, except 
plain oil or plain water, both of which are conventionally 
distinguished from it. The use of either of them is now 
understood to be an entirely different thing from what is 
called Painting in Tempera. The first general idea which 
that expression conveys, is painting on a dry perfectly dry 
wall with opaque colours made up with size, egg, milk, or 
gum principally the former. It is then called ' distemper,' and 
employed in scene-painting. Yolk and white of egg, generally 
kept till very thick and offensive (hence painting a putrido), 
was the favourite vehicle in the earliest times, up to the Van 
Eycks' discoveries, about 1401 *. One of the two brothers 
Hubert and John Van Eyck is said to have ' discovered oil 
painting.' What he, or they, did to improve oil-painting 
(which had been practised long before, as Ghiberti states that 
Giotto painted in oil, and Cennini's 'Treatise on Painting,' 
A.D. 1437, says much of the use of various oils) is summed 
up to the following effect by Messrs. Gullick and Timbs, in 
their most useful and readable book on Painting : ' The great 
difficulty, of Northern painters in particular, was to find a 
varnish which would dry in the shade ; what is called " a 
drier " to mix with the oils. His chemical knowledge enabled 
him to hit on amber, and find means of dissolving it in oil. 
Secondly, the varnish and medium thus obtained was so 
nearly colourless, that he was able to use it with light-toned 
opaque colours, so as not to lose their purity. Hence he was 
enabled to proceed to thick painting, " impasting," or laying 
on solid lights, as has been practised ever since.' 

Tempera, however, with glue, or yolk and white of eggs, 



1 Yolk of egg may be employed in water-colour with capital results, as fol- 
lows : Wherever very sharp lights are wanted, as in the illuminated edges of sunset 
clouds, in foreground grasses or leaves, &c., it is well to paint them in sharply 
with yolk of egg at the very beginning, before the washes are put on. When the 
high lights are wanted, the skin of egg-substance will peel off them quite easily, 
and leave them in pure white, to be tinted at pleasure. 



312 TEMPERA. 

diluted with fig-juice or vinegar, may be said to be the original 
vehicle of modern painting. Cimabue and Giotto, Orcagna 
and Angelico all worked in it ; and Ghirlandajo hovered 
between it and the fresco which adorns the Santa Trinita 
and the Carmine. Masaccio had preceded him, and Benozzo 
Gozzoli ; but he must always be considered Chief of the 
Frescanti. 

The word ' gesso ' is sometimes used to the confusion of the 
few daring spirits of the lay world who take up practical Art- 
books : we think we have seen the expression ' Painting in 
gesso.' Painting on gesso would be more correct ; the word 
simply means white plaster of Paris, used with size for the 
tempera ground to receive colours, whether it be spread thickly 
over panels or walls, or thinly on canvas. It is always used in 
preparing grounds, on any material or for any vehicle. 

All these processes of course require great preparation. 
The chief point is the memory and skill, the experience and 
inspiration of the painter, set fully on his mettle, and required 
to do in a day work which may stand for centuries. Some 
Italian painters are said to have worked at once on the plaster 
surface : but any one in his senses, in modern days, will have 
first prepared a chalk or charcoal cartoon of the form in light 
and shade, of the size contemplated, and then a coloured copy 
of the same on paper or canvas 1 : besides studying all the 
more complicated parts. When he omes to face the wall he 
is to render a sweet and lovely wall, he must cut his cartoon 
into pieces of such size as he can finish in a day, pin them to 
the wet wall, prick through them along the lines, and pounce 
the holes with red or black dust : or he may indent lines if 
he will. He will then have a complete outline, and has only 
to paint with a strong hand. 

We must refer our readers to Messrs. Gullick and Timbs, 
and to their references, for some highly interesting remarks 
about the partial use of water-and-size, or distemper grounding 
for oil-paintings, with their first coats of colour. ' This partial 
use of water-colours,' they observe, ' which is generally confined 
to the preparatory stages of the picture, recommends itself by 

1 It is almost indispensable to have a coloured sketch in fresco. 



TEMPERA AND OIL. 313 

giving the artist greater facility in those stages, and by the 
greater purity it secures to the super-imposed oil-colour. 
Nearly all the Venetian painters are believed to have used 
this mixed method. It is known that the clear blues in the 
pictures of Paul Veronese were painted in distemper and after- 
wards varnished.' A quotation follows from Burnet's ' Essays 
on the Fine Arts :' which states that Correggio and Giorgione 
managed, by this use of tempera and oil together, to have the 
light portions of their pictures without oleaginous substance at 
all, yet not to lose unctuousness and transparency in their 
shadows. The tempera lights remain, but the shadows are 
much cracked and darkened the water not having had enough 
size in it 1 . Titian and Tintoret seem to have made the same 
combination, and Rubens especially got much of the brilliancy 
of his landscape from using a white water-colour ground wider 
his oil-painting. Velasquez and Vandyke, and finally Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, worked thus ; the latter unfortunately in 
many cases using water-colour over the oil-painting ; which 
ensures contraction and cracking to a ruinous extent. This 
is probably the chief reason why so many of Turner's grandest 
works are perishing so entirely. ' In Etty,' Mr. Burnet con- 
tinues, ' we have the true Venetian cracky substance of water- 
colour with the rich and transparent glazings of oil : Wilkie 
also possessed this quality in a very high degree.' 

It is easy and pleasant to paint in oil on a dry plastered 
wall which has had a few coats of paint spread over it. This 
is the only wall-painting we ever practised. Turpentine should 
be used with common oil-colours, and the painter may proceed 
as in water-colour. 

Encaustic painting, we believe, is laying a ground of colours 
made up with wax, and afterwards glazing the work by means 
of heat. For a full description of its processes, to any one who 
has to practise it, we must refer to Messrs. Gullick and Timbs, 
to whom we owe nearly the whole of this short chapter. 

1 A hasty but convenient method for scene-painting is the use of gum-water as a 
medium with water-colours, and on plain calico. The process is simply that of 
water-colour, and the work may be rolled up when dry and treated anyhow while 
it is kept dry. Thick gum-water has much of the force of oil in transparent shade. 
Ox-gall mixed with water-colour will make it work freely on almost any surface. 



LETTER FROM MR. SPENCER STANHOPE. 

In conclusion, we cannot hope that all or a large proportion 
of those who read this book will ever come to paint in fresco. 
Yet almost all our ground-maxims of study and practice would 
be contained in the advice to work as if one was training for 
such work. The stored memory, keen sure eye, and trained 
hand ; precision, decision, and the inner vision of what you 
mean to do, before it is done ; these things make a painter in 
any vehicle. And we think any one who shall have really 
given the first three chapters of the practical part of this book 
a fair trial, will find himself advancing towards full possession 
of these qualities. 

The annexed letter from Mr. Stanhope expresses the sub- 
stance of our chapter so pithily that we cannot help inserting 
it: 

' MY DEAR 

' Fresco is painting in water-colours on wet plaster : the vehicle used 
with the colours is pure water. When the plaster has set, the colour 
cannot be washed off; that and its luminous qualities are the chief ad- 
vantages of fresco; the disadvantage is that only a limited number of 
colours can be used, as the wet lime is destructive to many colours. It 
is not, therefore, suited to elaborate work, but to large spaces where 
simple colours suffice. Tempera or distemper is painting on a dry wall 
with water-colours, using size as a medium. The size is to bind the 
colours sufficiently to prevent their dusting off; but of course it is no 
protection against wet. Any colours may be used in tempera painting, 
but the effect is not so luminous as that of genuine fresco. It is pretty 
generally believed by artists that the Venetian School painted in tempera 
on canvases prepared with a gesso or plaster ground, and finished up with 
oil-colours, by that means combining the advantages of both methods. I 
am about to try that plan : Watts has reintroduced it, and many artists 
are adopting it. I can tell you nothing about the water-glass process, as I 
have not tried it. I believe either Herbert or Martin have used it in their 
wall-paintings in the Houses of Parliament. 

' Yours, &c., 

C J. R. SPENCER STANHOPE.' 



CHAPTER X. 

PERSPECTIVE. 

IT has been long disputed whether the eye has any natural 
power of distinguishing the distances from itself of objects 
in space. It is generally allowed that such power has to 
be gathered by experience ; and that mere images on the 
retina are insufficient to give the mind any idea of relative or 
even absolute remoteness from the eye. It is said that per- 
sons blind from their birth, who have suddenly obtained their 
sight, by an operation or other means, find that all things at 
first appear equally distant from them, or rather equally near 
to them. Everything they see seems to them in contact with 
the eye. Hence it appears that the only kind of magnitude of 
which we can become directly conscious through the eye, is 
angular magnitude. That is to say, if two points are visible 
at a distance from each other, the eye can naturally only take 
cognizance of the angular distance between them. This would 
appear the same, whether one point were near the eye, the 
other not, or if both were at the same distance, provided their 
position were changed in a direct line from the eye. Now, if 
the points kept their place, and the eye changed its position, 
the angular distance between them would change ; and if one 
were near the eye, the other distant, it would change rapidly. 
This apparent change in the relative position of points gives us 
one most important means of judging by the eye of their 
forms and positions. We can see an illustration of this when 
we look at a starry sky. It is impossible to judge of the 
relative or actual distance of stars from each other, because, 
move as we will, they appear stationary with regard to each 
other. Consequently the heaven or firmament looks like a 



3 1 6 PERSPECTI VE. 

blue vault studded with stars, at no great distance and of 
almost solid hemispherical form : a Srepe'tojua, or firmament, as 
old astronomers called it. The images of things, in fact, like 
their names, seem to be only signs of them, and the power of 
reading visual signs has to be acquired by experience. Ap- 
pearances are constantly at variance with facts. By various 
distances and position, a circle may be made to appear ellip- 
tical in form, or a smaller thing larger than a greater. These 
facts are part of the science of Optics, or the laws of vision. 
Perspective, as we understand it, is a simpler and more limited 
matter ; and this requires some illustration, as follows : 

Let the spectator, or his seeing eye (we ignore all the rest 
of him except his eye, and further suppose him to see as with 
one eye, and not with two) let the seeing eye be supposed to 
be placed in the centre of a sphere, able to look successively 
in any direction towards any point in that sphere. Now, if a 
straight line be presented to him as representing extension, 
there is a position in which he would only be able to see it as 
a point. (We are speaking of course not of mathematical, but 
actually drawn lines and points.) If the line were placed 
before the eye end on, so as to be exactly in the line of vision, 
nothing would be seen but the end of it, which is a point. It 
becomes visible to the eye as a line denoting extension, as soon 
as it is moved out of the direct line of the eye. The rays 
which proceed from it to the eye are then no longer all in one 
line, but enclose an angle, and give an idea of a definite length 
between them ; the amount of the length depending on the 
size of the angle. In other words, two lines, or portions of the 
same line, will have their apparent lengths in the same propor- 
tion to each other as the angles they subtend at the eye, no 
matter what their actual length may be. A curious result fol- 
lows : viz. that the length of a line may be without limit, 
while its apparent magnitude may never exceed a finite 
quantity. 



FIG. I. 



PERSPECTIVE. 317 

In Fig. t we see that if successive equal portions of the line 
BC be taken at increasing distances from the eye, the angle at 
the eye subtended by each of these diminishes as they recede. 
And if the line be extended to any length, the ray from its 
extreme point to the eye can never become absolutely parallel 
with the line EA. But it is possible to imagine the line BC 
extended to such a length that the ray from its extreme point 
shall be nearer the parallel position than any other we can 
assign. So that the parallel direction is the limit of change 
in direction of the ray from the line BC to the eye E. 
Therefore the angle AEB, contained between the parallel EA 
and the first ray EB drawn to the nearest end of BC (sup- 
posing it to be limited in that direction), will be the limit of 
measure of the apparent length of BC, even if BC were 
extended indefinitely in the same direction. 

Hence, it will be seen, that if a straight line exists in space, 
not passing through the eye, it becomes visible as length, as at 
EC : but that, however long it may be itself, its image is 
always finite. The quality of straightness is not easy to 
describe. In the above figure we have seen that when the line 
BC is extended in direction C, the ray from E to its further 
extremity gradually approaches direction EA. That is to say, 
when the extremity of BC is visible, it will appear somewhere 
between B, the point of the line nearest the eye, and that point 
into which the whole line EC will resolve itself as a seen image 
when it coincides with the line of sight EA. The farther C is 
from B the nearer it will appear to approach to the line EA. 
The state of things then would be this : A line EA extending 
from the eye seems like a single point; any other line BC, 
though parallel to it, appears to stretch from its nearest point 
B towards contact with it in the line of sight, when it appears 
as a point. So it would be with other lines parallel to it also 1 . 
So that a system of straight lines in space, all parallel to each 
other, would look like so many straight lines radiating from a 
centre, that centre being in the one line of the system whose 
whole appearance is a point by reason of its passing through 
the line of sight. 

1 This apparent convergence of lines really parallel may be observed by looking 
along railroad lines from a platform or bridge. 



3 1 8 PERSPEC 77 VE. 

This reasoning will apply to the same system of parallel 
lines extending in the other direction B : so that the same 
appearance of straight lines radiating from a centre would be 
presented on two opposite sides. This would seem to be con- 
tradictory to the fact of the lines being straight, since straight 
lines cannot meet in more than one point. As has been said, 
the eye can only take note of the extension of a line as trans- 
verse or angular magnitude, and apparent straightness consists 
in the line never leaving the plane which joins it and the eye. 
If a circle be presented to the eye in such a position that the 
eye is in the same plane outside the circumference, it will only 
appear as a finite straight line ; and so if the eye were within 
the circle, and in the plane of the curve, the circumference 
would still appear straight. And if this circle were to be cut 
by another, with the same centre but in a plane inclined to it, 
the circumference of that circle would still give to the eye at 
the centre the same impression of straightness, though it 
would be seen to meet the other in two points on opposite 
sides. This seems the best way of realizing the appearance of 
a series of parallel lines infinitely prolonged both ways : they 
would be like the meridian lines of a globe to an eye placed at 
its centre. 

As a line in a particular plane viewed by an eye in the same 
plane appears the same whether straight or curved, it follows 
that lines different in length and direction may be substituted 
for each other, and yet produce the same effect upon the eye 
of the spectator. For instance, imagine right lines EA, EB to 




proceed from the eye E. It is evident that all the lines I, 2, 
3, 4, straight or curved, would all look straight and the same 
to the eye, provided they all lay in the plane AEB. In fact, 
supposing a figure of any form to be visible, we can suppose 
another figure of quite a different shape so placed as to inter- 
cept its image, supply its place, and give quite the same 



PERSPECTIVE. 319 

impression to the eye. It is quite possible to have a collec- 
tion of lines and figures all in the same plane which shall 
present exactly the same appearance to the spectator's eye as 
so many solid objects at any distance, provided the several 
points of both objects and figures are in the straight line 
which meets the point E, or the spectator's eye. These figures 
would form a perspective representation, or picture, of the 
various objects : to determine their form and position in any 
given case is the function of Perspective. 

Let us define a Picture or Perspective Delineation a little 
more strictly. Imagine that lines or rays proceed from every 
point of the objects to be represented, and converge on a 
point ; and further, that on their way to it they have to pass 
through a plane, upon which they produce certain figures by 
passing through it. Then those figures are the perspective 
projections of the several objects, and the plane is their pic- 
ture. If one could trace a landscape on a window-pane, along 
its lines, they would form a perspective drawing. Hence it 
appears that the problem of perspective is simply this : ' Given 
a point in space, or an eye, to which straight lines from the 
given objects converge ; to determine the forms in which 
those lines would intersect a plane which cuts them as the 
window-pane does the rays proceeding from the landscape it 
covers.' 

It is often said that no perspective drawing can give the true 
appearance of a complicated object, because in looking at its 
different parts the eye is always changing the direction of its 
picture-plane ; so that one's impression involves an act of com- 
bination of many different images in many different planes. 
But this has nothing to do with the correctness of a perspec- 
tive drawing, even if it be true : for if the drawing is correct, 
the eye, when placed at the point of sight, will pass over its 
different parts and take in each point consecutively, varying 
its image in looking at the picture, as it does in looking at the 
.object. The window seems to illustrate this. And the images 
traced on the pane, the perspective projections of the various 
objects, will appear identical with the objects, while the eye 
remains at the point of convergence ; and the eye can move 
about the picture looking at different objects in it on the point 
of projection as a centre. 



3 20 PERSPECTIVE. 

Projection is the name given in geometrical drawing to the 
figure produced on a plane when an object is referred to it 
according to fixed method. It is called the orthographic pro- 
jection of a figure on a plane, when lines are supposed to be 
drawn from every point in it to meet a plane at right angles, 
all parallel to each other, and their intersection is marked on 
the plane. Of this kind are all plans, elevations, sections, Sec., 
all architectural and mechanical work, and generally all draw- 
ings for reference in every kind of construction. If the lines 
of projection, instead of being at right angles with the plane, 
were converging on a point at the other side of it, farthest 
from the object, the projection would be a perspective repre- 
sentation : and an eye placed in the point of convergence 
would get the same impression from the projection as from 
the object. Hence it will be seen, that making a perspective 
drawing is simply a geometrical proceeding ; that is, it is 
so, if you know all the conditions as to size, distance, and posi- 
tion of the objects, the plane of projection, and the point of 
sight. 

We define perspective, then, as the drawing on a given 
surface such forms as shall convey to the spectator the im- 
pression that he looks not at but through the surface at certain 
objects 1 , of which your drawing is the visual appearance or 
sign, coinciding with the impression he would get from the 
objects themselves under given conditions. And since all 
objects are seen by means of light reflected in right lines from 
their surfaces, it is clear that if one can so manage that the 
rays of light from the traced forms shall have the same 
arrangement among each other as if they came from actual 
objects, the tracings will stand to the spectator for the objects, 
and be subject to the same laws of vision ; so that it is not 
necessary for him to know, when he sees a straight line, 
whether its image on the retina is straight or curved, or 
whether he sees it as length or angular space. All that 
perspective has to do with is the question whether the images 
impressed on the retina by the picture correspond to the 
images impressed by the objects : it can only tell the spec- 

1 Hence the name Per-spective, ' looking through.' 



PERSPECTIVE. 321 

tator how he sees what he sees and cannot inform him about 
the nature of what he sees. 

This enables us to face Dr. Brook Taylor's observation in 
his Perspective. He says that a picture painted to the ideal 
degree of perfection ought to affect the eye of the beholder 
even to deception ; so that he shall not be able to say whether 
he is looking at a picture or through a window. ' To produce 
this effect it is clear that the light ought to come from the 
picture to the spectator's eye in the very same manner as from 
the objects themselves. That is to say, every ray of light 
ought to come to the spectator's eye, from every point in the 
picture, with the same strength of light and shadow,* the same 
colour, and in the same direction, as it would do from the 
corresponding point of the same object, if it were placed where 
it is imagined to be.' 

It would of course be impossible to produce a picture like 
this, as far as light and colour are concerned (the story of the 
grapes and curtain notwithstanding) ; but under certain con- 
ditions the line-forms of objects may be reproduced as faith- 
fully as the description requires. 

These conditions must now be stated with some precision ; 
and for the purpose some special terms must be made use of, 
which are here explained : 

Picture Plane. The plane on which the drawing or 
' projection ' is to be made is called the Picture-plane, 
the Plane of Delineation, or shortly, the Picture. 
Point of Sight. That point to which the rays from the 
objects represented converge, or the position of the 
spectator's eye, is called the point of sight, and the 
station or standing-point. 
Distance of a Picture. The length of a perpendicular 

from the point of sight on the picture-plane. 
Centre of Vision. That point in the picture-plane in 
which the perpendicular from the stand-point meets 
it. As the picture-plane is represented by the canvas 
or paper, it is most convenient to refer to it the relative 

* For the practical impossibilities here involved, see quotations from Modern 
Painters (Part II. sect. ii. ch. i, 4, 7, &c.) in the chapter on ' Drawing in Light 
and Shade.' 

Y 



322 



PERSPECTIVE. 



positions of the eye and the objects to be drawn. 
Given C, the centre of vision, and a line CE repre- 
senting the distance of the picture, you have the 
position of the point of sight precisely indicated. See 

% 3- 

In this figure E is the position of the eye or point of pro- 
jection, ABCD a plane figure to be represented in perspec- 
tive, PP" a plane through which rays or right lines from 
A, B, C and D converge on E. Then, if the points #, b, c, d, 
in which each of these rays cuts the picture-plane, be joined, 
as in the diagram, the figure produced would be the per- 
spective of ABCD, and indeed would not be distinguished 




FIG. 3. 

from it in its proper position. For AE, BE, CE, DE being 
all right lines of sight, all points in them are the same to the 
spectator's eye: so that in his eye the points a&c,d are the 
same with the points A,B,C,D ; and so with all the other 
points in the plane ABCD. 

It is only when the spectator's eye is situated exactly at E 
that this takes place ; and therefore the complete similarity 
between an object and its perspective-picture depends on the 
observance of this condition. At the same time, it is clear 
that the draughtsman, as such, has nothing to do with the 



PERSPECTIVE. 323 

spectator's finding the right place for his eye, but is only 
concerned that there should be one for him, viz. that the 
visual rays or lines AE, BE, &c., should really converge to 
a single point E. This point the spectator who wishes to see 
the true appearance of a perspective representation must 
always find for himself. 

The diagram fig. 3 also illustrates the relative positions of 
the objects, and lines, and points above-defined. 

Thus PP" is the picture-plane ; C.V, centre of vision ; E, 
point of sight. Line from E to C.V is the distance of the 
picture. HL is the horizontal line, and GF represents a 
portion of the ground-plane, conceived as a plane at right 
angles to the picture-plane, the position of which as deter- 
mined by line EK is generally one of the data. 

In order to learn the variations of the visual appearance of 
objects, the usual way is to assume a perfect knowledge of the 
necessary points in the case of some simple object : first to 
suppose them placed at a given distance from E, and in a 
given position with respect to E and the picture-plane ; and 
then to determine what form the perspective would take. By 
doing this with various objects under various conditions, as 
here with the plane figure ABCD, the learner becomes familiar 
with the results in particular cases, and can anticipate the 
probable appearance of actual objects and render them cor- 
rectly in his picture, from what he sees, without finding it 
necessary to know the actual shapes, sizes and distances, or 
using any of the geometrical constructions necessary in severe 
investigation like the above. 

Many people imagine, that anybody with an eye or eyes 
must surely be able to see the things before them, and dis- 
cover the apparent relative positions of lines and points, with- 
out the trouble of learning perspective. But most persons 
need only attempt to draw, say one or two straight-lined solid 
objects, to find that they are quite helpless, not only from 
want of manual skill, but from sheer inability to see what 
is before them. They cannot say at all, or they say directly 
wrong, whether a line appears to go up or down, or is longer 
or shorter than another. Others, again, who begin to study 
perspective seem to do so without much hope that it will ever 

Y 2 



PERSPECTIVE. 

be of practical service to them in drawing from Nature, be- 
cause they cannot then ascertain the actual forms and dis- 
tances, so as to put objects into perspective by rule, or rather 
so as to be able to prove the correctness of their work. But 
they will find, after a time, that there are a few general prin- 
ciples which govern all perspective change, and that these 
may be rendered into broad rules which will guide them in 
drawing by eye. Space forbids us to do more now than shew 
what these rules are for placing given figures in perspective, 
and give the sketcher such an account of them as he can 
best bear in mind. 

Diminution of size by distance from the eye is the most familiar 
to us of all effects of perspective. The distant object as has 
been shewn, is smaller, i.e. subtends a smaller angle at the eye : 
and this may be demonstrated on a picture-plane as follows : 

Let E be the eye ; PP', edge of picture ; AB, CD, two 
parallel lines of the same length at different distances from PP'. 

It is evident that right lines AE, BE must fall within CE, 
DE ; consequently line ab on the picture-plane, which is the 
perspective of AB, is less than cd on the same plane, which 




FIG 4. 

is the perspective of CD. In the same way if AB be moved 
to a greater distance it will subtend a still smaller angle, and 
the subtending line on the picture-plane will be still shorter. 

As these lines enclose a smaller angle they approach each 
other : so that if AB were moved away to an indefinite 
distance between the parallels CA and DB, its perspective- 
representation would become indefinitely small ; in fact, the 
EA, EB would coincide with each other and ab become a 
point ; or more correctly, ' the limit of the diminution of the 



PERSPECTIVE. 325 

perspective of AB as its distance from the picture-plane 
increases, is zero.' Accordingly, in our former diagram it 
will be seen (fig. 3) that the lines AE, BE, drawn to the eye 
from the more distant corners of the square on the ground, 
produce on PP' a perspective-line ab, shorter than cd t per- 
spective-line of the nearer side CD. Then as to sides of 
the square AC, BD. Their intersections with the picture- 
plane are represented on it by straight lines, since AEC, 
BED are plane triangles intersecting a plane. Moreover, 
they are right lines connecting the extremities of unequal 
parallel lines cd and ab. They would therefore meet if 
produced in the direction of the shorter ab : and the point in 
which they meet is the same point as the one mentioned 
above, in fig. 4, as marking the extinction of magnitude of 
the perspective-picture of the line AB, on indefinite increase 
of distance from the PP'. This point, then, is called the 
vanishing point of ac> bd. And as vanishing points are very 
important matters in perspective, we must discover their 
relation to lines AB and CD in their original position in fig. 4. 
In that figure, as we said, lines or visual rays from the 
line AB come closer together on PP' as AB recedes. Now 
consider the case of rays coming to E from lines CA and 
DB. Then as in the case of AC and BD in the square in 
fig. 3, the perspective-lines they will produce on the picture- 
plane will tend to meet each other in a point ; and their 
meeting point will be that point on PP' at which a line 
drawn from E parallel to CA and DB would cut it ; for 
to this parallel the lines EC, ED, EA, EB, &c., &c., 
continually tend as you assume more remote points along 
the parallels AC, DB. Therefore the point on the picture- 
plane through which this parallel passes is the vanishing 
point, to which the perspective-representations of all these 
lines converge ; and similarly with all parallels to these lines 
CA, BD. These lines are drawn in the figure at right 
angles with the picture-plane ; but the same is true of lines 
at any other angle with it. So that to find the vanishing 
point of any set of parallel lines we have only to imagine a 
line passing through the eye, or point of sight, in the same 
direction, and meeting the picture-plane : the point in which 



326 



PERSPECTIVE. 



it meets the picture-plane will be the vanishing point. 
Thus in fig. 3 the object is a square, two of whose sides 
are at right angles with PP', and two parallel to it. The 
vanishing point of the former will be found by supposing 
a line to proceed from E in the same direction as AB and 
CD, i. e. at right angles to the picture-plane. But the point 
at which this line EC meets the picture-plane is the centre 
of vision : consequently the lines ca and db would, if pro- 
duced, meet in that point. If we take the two sides AB, 
CD, which are parallel to the picture-plane, a line through 
E in their direction would never meet it at all : so that 




FIG. 5. 

they have no vanishing point in the picture. Their repre- 
sentative lines on the picture-plane do not tend to meet 
in any point, and they are parallel to each other, as in the 
figure. Hence two rules, which will be referred to again in 
summing up : I. That the perspectives of lines which are 
parallel to the picture-plane are parallel to each other, and 
do not converge. 2. That those of lines at right angles to 
the picture-plane must meet in the centre of vision. 

Again, let us take the case of a line on the ground in a 
different position from the above, not at right angles to 



PERSPECTIVE. 327 

the picture-plane, but inclined to the right at 45, or half a 
right angle. Its position can be seen in fig. 3 ; as that of 
the diagonal CB of the square ABCD ; and its perspective 
can be at once obtained by joining the corners cb of the 
perspective-square abed on the picture-plane. But supposing 
that we wish to determine the vanishing point, or the point 
to which that diagonal and all its parallels appear to con- 
verge. Then, as before, imagine a line EK (fig. 5) to proceed 
from E to the picture-plane parallel to the original diagonal 
CB at 45 with it. The point K, where this line meets the 
picture-plane produced, is the vanishing point we want. 
Accordingly we find on joining cb that that line, if pro- 
duced, passes through K. 

In the same way, the vanishing point of any line which, 
in its original position, is inclined both to the picture and 
the ground, is still that point on the picture-plane which 
is marked by the intersection therewith of the line parallel 
to it which passes through E. 

Hence the operation of determining the vanishing points 
of lines whose exact position is known is a simple matter, 
supposing that lines can be drawn in any given direction 
from E, the point of sight. But this is just what cannot be 
done, as the point of sight lies out of our drawing. Imagine 
this page to be the plane in fig. 6, and let point C be the 
centre of vision marked there. Then point of sight E 
in figs. 3 and 5 would be a point in front of the page, 
exactly opposite to the centre of vision (or in a line from 
the centre of vision at right angles to the page), and distance 
of E from the centre of vision would be the distance of our 
picture. 

~~\ 
c 

FIG. 6. 

Now it clearly would be inconvenient, if always possible, 
to fix something projecting from the centre of vision, so as 
to get our point of sight from which to draw other lines 
meeting the page again. We have therefore to discover 
some means of finding out where the lines from the eye 



328 PERSPECTIVE. 

would meet the page, so as not to necessitate the use of a 
construction out of the plane of the picture. 

It must be premised that, though, strictly speaking, 
the picture-plane on our page may have any position what- 
ever with respect to the horizon, so long as its relation 
to the point of sight and the objects to be drawn is strictly 
defined, it is always supposed to be in a vertical position, 
at right angles with the horizon. And generally, for the 
sake of defining the position of the lines to be represented, 
this vertical PP' is supposed to be intersected by a horizontal 
plane ; and lines are referred to both of these, when their 
position and direction are described. Lines can then be 
classified according to their position, thus : 

1. Lines parallel to both picture-plane and horizontal- 

plane. 

2. Lines parallel to the former and inclined to the 

latter. 

3. Lines parallel to the latter and inclined to the 

former. 

4. Lines inclined to both picture-plane and horizon- 

tal-plane. 

A cube and its diagonals illustrate this perfectly. As to 
the first set of lines, there is no difficulty about them, since 
they are parallel to both planes, the horizontal and the 
picture-plane, i. e. to the intersection of the ground with the 
picture. They will, therefore, be always horizontal lines in 
the picture. The second also are easy to deal with, as it 
is evident that since each of them is parallel to the picture- 
plane it will be parallel to its projection on that plane. The 
projection-line, therefore, will make the same angle with the 
base-line of the picture-plane as the original makes with 
the ground. The projections of lines parallel to the 
picture-plane are themselves parallel, and have no vanishing 
points, as above shewn, in finding those points by the 
visual rays from E. As to the third class, lines parallel to 
the ground, but inclined towards the picture here it is 
clear that a line from E parallel to the given original line 
would meet the picture-plane, make an angle with it, and 
consequently its projection would have a vanishing point. 



PERSPECTIVE. 329 

The diagonal CB of the square in fig. 5, and that of the 
top of the block, are in this position, parallel with the 
ground and inclined at 45 to the picture-plane. 

If a line be supposed to proceed from E in exactly the 
same direction, we find it meets the picture in a point 
somewhere to the right of the centre. That will be the 
vanishing point of the line in the picture which represents 
the orieinal line CB. How, then, are we to determine the 

O 9-9 

place of this point, since we cannot draw lines in the plane 
of the picture from E, which is in front of our paper ? 

It may be arrived at thus, fig 5 : Since line EK is parallel 
to CB, and EX to BD, the plane of the triangle EKX is 
parallel to the square ABCD ; therefore the intersections of 
both planes with the picture, KX and CD, are parallels. 
Hence we see that the vanishing point lies in a line which 
passes through the centre of vision and in a horizontal 
direction ; in fact, the horizontal line : and if we can 
determine the length of KX, that is, the distance of the 
vanishing point from the centre of vision, its place is found. 
Now in the triangle EKX, side EX is given, that being the 
distance of the picture ; and the angles at X and E are 
given, the former being a right angle, the latter the comple- 
ment of the inclination of line EK or CB to the picture 
(in this case 45) ; so that it is easy to construct the triangle 
and find the length of KX. The usual way is to draw from 
X a line at right angles to the horizontal line (either above 
or below) and set on this the distance of the picture : then 
to make an angle at S = angle KEX. The line thus 
drawn will meet the horizontal line in K. The angle KEX 
being the complement of the angle which EK makes with 
PP, it is usual to draw a short horizontal line through S, as 
OR, and to make angle RSK = the angle which EK makes 
with PP that angle being the same as BCD, the angle 
given as the inclination of line CD with PP. Hence for all 
purposes connected with the finding of vanishing points on 
the horizontal line the point S will do as well as the actual 
point of sight E. Also, the perspectives of all lines which 
lie on the ground or are parallel to it, no matter how far 
above or below, have their vanishing points in the horizontal 



330 PERSPECTIVE. 

line ; which is on that account called the vanishing line of 
horizontal planes: the remoteness of these vanishing points 
from the centre of vision depending on the angle which the 
actual line is supposed to make with the picture-plane. If 
this angle is very small, i. e. if the line differs very slightly 
in direction from the base-line, it will be seen that when a 
line is drawn from S, making this very small angle with SR, 
its intersection with the horizontal line will be at a great 
distance from CN : so that the perspective lines which tend to 
that as a vanishing point will be almost horizontal. This is 
to be kept in mind in drawing from Nature. 

This method is followed with respect to the vanishing 
points of lines in any position : any difference is of detail, 
and depends on the terms in which the relative position of 
the given line to the picture-plane and the horizontal plane is 
defined. First, the line is to be considered as lying in a plane, 
whose position with respect to the picture-plane is given. 
The vanishing line of that plane must be found, and a con- 
struction made from the centre of that, like the one above the 
horizontal line, by which the distance of the vanishing point 
from the centre of vision in either direction may be found. 
For example, let the line to be represented be one which is 
inclined both to the picture and ground, such as the line 
which joins the opposite corners of the cube CGD. This line 
may be looked upon as in the plane of BGCH, which is a 
vertical plane, making with the face of the cube CDFH, and 
consequently, with the picture, the angle BCD. Its vanishing 
point then will be in a line on the picture made by the inter- 
section of a plane which passes through the point of sight in 
a direction parallel to the original plane BCHG, i.e. at right 
angles to the ground and making an angle=BCD with PP'. 
The intersection with the picture will be a vertical line. And 
since the vanishing line of a plane contains the vanishing 
points of all the lines in it, the vanishing line of the plane 
BCHG must contain the vanishing point of BC. That is to 
say, it will be an upright line passing through the vanishing 
point K, the centre (the point nearest the eye) of the vanishing 
line. In this, then, the vanishing point of the line CG will 
be found, if we can determine how far it lies from this centre 



PERSPECTIVE. 331 

K. Look at the diagram once more : the line KT is the 
vanishing line spoken of. The line from E, parallel to CG, 
and which generates the vanishing point of its representation, 
is ET. The problem is therefore to determine the length of 
KT, which may be done by constructing a triangle in the 
picture-plane equal in all respects to the triangle EKT. Thus, 
from K draw a line at right angles to KT. This will of course 
in this case coincide with the horizontal line. On that set 
off a length from K = EK, which we have as SK on the 
picture-plane in our former construction. Let U represent 
the point to which this reaches : from U draw a line making 
with UK an angle KUT = angle KET : which is the angle 
at which the original line GC is inclined to the ground, or the 
line BC. This line will then meet the vanishing line in T, 
and this will be the vanishing point of the line on PP which 
represents line CG, and of all lines parallel to it. The point 
U here plays the part of E, as did S in the former construc- 
tion ; being at the same distance as E from K. This distance, 
EK or UK, is called the distance of the vanishing line KT ; 
and is always given when EX and KX are given. 

These are some of the artifices and constructions by which 
the vanishing points of lines are determined ; without making 
use of E in its proper place, but only of its distance EX : 
which is always a given quantity. These vanishing points of 
course only determine the direction of the perspective lines, 
and not their length. And as this varies with every change of 
position in the same line, it becomes necessary to find a means 
of representing the apparent length of the same line under 
different conditions ; or, in other words, of finding what 
portion of the picture-plane is included between the rays from 
the eye to its extremities in its different positions. This is 
usually done by the use of what are called measuring points. 
They are neither more nor less than vanishing points of lines 
so arranged as to cut off equal portions from some line on the 
picture-plane and the original line which has to be represented. 
The following figure will illustrate the principle on which this 
is done. Let PP represent a plan of the picture-plane ; i.e. 
imagine the page to be the ground and PP the edge of the 
picture looked at from above. Let E be the point of sight 



332 



PERSPECTIVE, 




FIG. 7. 



and ab the original line on the ground to be projected on PP. 
From what has been said, the vanishing point of the per- 
spective projection will be under- 
stood to be seen in plan at V, the 
point where EV, a parallel to ab 
from E, meets PP. Suppose now 
be to be drawn, making equal 
angles with PP and ab ; the por- 
tion of the picture-plane between 
a and c=ab. The direction of 
the perspective of ab is deter- 
mined, as we know, by its vani- 
shing point ; and so it would be 
with c if we had its vanishing 
point. Now this is where a paral- 
lel to cb from E would fall in PP, as 
at M ; M is therefore the vanishing point of perspectives of lines 
equally inclined to ab and PP. Now triangle EVM is similar 
to triangle abc, and has therefore two of its sides EV and VM 
equal to each other. So that we find, when we have the 
vanishing point of a line whose original is ab, that the 
vanishing point of another set of lines which will intercept 
equal lengths from the picture-plane, and from ab and its 
parallels, is a point M : whose distance from the vanishing point 
of ab = the distance of V from E, point of sight. Therefore, 
in order to set any given distance on the perspective of ab, we 
have simply to measure a line of the actual geometric length 
on the picture-line, and draw from its extremities lines to M : 
which will intercept equal lengths from the picture-plane and 
from ab. The next figure shews the appearance which the 
above construction would present when the page is the picture- 
plane seen from the front in its right position. 

The ab in fig. 8 is the representation on PP of the original 
line ab in fig. 7. Its vanishing point is obtained as above 
described, i.e. from S, whose distance from CV= distance of 
the picture-plane from E, a line SV is drawn ; making angle 
OSV = angle made by the original line ab with PP in fig. 7 
( = to angle bac in that figure). The point M is now set on 
the horizontal line at a distance from V=SV: when it becomes 
the vanishing point of lines which make equal angles with 



PERSPECTIVE. 



333 



the picture-plane and ab : and is the measuring point of the 
vanishing point V. Therefore, if on the indefinite line ab it 
be required to place any given length, that length is first 
measured on the picture-line from point a towards the left> 
and then a line is drawn from the point so found, towards M 




the measuring point. In the figure successive measurements 
, I, 2, 3, &c., are made along the picture-line or base-line 
from a to the left, and a line is drawn from each point to M- 
These lines mark off on ab portions which are the perspective 
representations of these equal divisions. 

It will be now seen that the perspective of a line can be 
found when its position and length (as also, of course, the 
picture-plane and point of sight E) are given. On these 
data, then, all rectilinear figures can be represented. Curves 
can only be indirectly represented. They are generally con- 
ceived as connected with rectilinear figures whose represen- 
tation can be found, and from points in them thus determined 
the pupil gets a correct idea of the projection of the curve on 
the picture-plane, and can draw it freehand. In a great many 
cases the kind of curve which will be produced may be known 
beforehand geometrically. A circle in all positions but two 
becomes an ellipse when in perspective. Rays from the 
circumference converging on E form a cone, right or oblique : 
and when this cone is cut by PP, the form of the section 
(which by definition is the perspective of the circle) will be 
an ellipse, except (i) when the cutting plane is parallel to the 



334 



PERSPECTIVE. 



plane of the circle, (2) when the point of sight is in the plane 
of the circle, in which case, as we have seen, its perspective is 
a right line. But if a few of the principal points in its pro- 
jection are found, the curve may be completed by any geome- 
trical mode of construction proper to it. The most common 
way of placing a circle in perspective is to suppose it inscribed 
in a square, whose diameters and diagonals are drawn as in 
fig. 9. When this square is put in perspective, with its 
diagonals, and those portions of its 
diagonals which lie outside the circum- 
ference are geometrically determined, a 
sufficient number of points will have been 
found to make it possible to draw through 
them the ellipse which represents the 
circle : as there are the middle points of 
the four sides where the circle and square 
touch each other, and the four points 
where the circumference crosses the 







FIG. 9. 



diagonals. 

As to the perspective of the sphere, it has been questioned 
whether it should be a circle or an ellipse. But all doubt on 
the matter may be traced to a confusion between the visual 
appearance of the sphere and the actual form of the curve on 
the picture-plane which represents it, and not remembering 
that this curve must be seen from the true point of sight. 
There is no doubt that to the eye a sphere always presents 
the appearance of a circle, that circle which marks the 
contact of the cone of rays from the eye with the surface of the 
sphere. Nor can it be disputed, that when this cone is cut by 
a picture-plane in any other position than at right angles with 
its axis, the form of the section will be an ellipse. This will 
be evident from fig. 10. 

The rays from E to the sphere touch its surface in points 
ab of circle ab. When the picture-plane intercepts these rays, 
an ellipse will be produced on its surface : but this ellipse, 
when seen from E, will produce the same impression on the 
eye as the circle ab. If the form of the section were repre- 
sented as a circle, that circle seen from point of sight E would 
not appear a circle but an ellipse. 



PERSPECTIVE. 335 

Thus much for the nature of perspective-projection, and 
the methods of determining by rule the variations of figures 
represented under different conditions. Let us now try to 
find how all this will help us, in drawing from the visual 
appearance of the actual object ; or, as we say, in sketching 




from Nature. Observe, in the geometrical construction of the 
perspective of an object, the given quantities are, (i) its true 
form and dimensions, and, (2) the exact positions of the object 
and point of sight E, relatively to PP ; the thing to be found 
is the perspective-projection on PP. The object need not 
exist at all in any position ; it is sufficient to assume these 
data respecting it, in order to produce a representation of the 
same visual appearance seen from E on PP, which the object 
would present if it did exist. In drawing from an actual 
object these conditions are changed. The end, the correct 
perspective picture on a plane, is the same : but instead of 
definite knowledge about the measurements, &c. of the object, 
we have the thing itself before our eyes (or rather, as we first 
stipulated, our eye). Our drawing is to coincide with its 
visual appearance in form. Now, the knowledge hitherto 
gained will enable us to analyse that appearance better than 
we should do without it, and to anticipate the probable 
apparent relation of parts to each other. This is always a 
great difficulty to a person uneducated in perspective ; as he 
is always led to put the facts he knows about the object at 
variance with what he sees and has to represent of its actual 
visual appearance. 

The laws of perspective modify the appearance of all objects 
whatever when they are drawn on a plane, but their influence 
is most easily recognized in objects composed of straight or 
geometrical forms, and it will be found that drawing such 
things is very valuable practice to teach the student to apply 



336 PERSPECTIVE. 

his perspective knowledge in sketching from Nature. Wooden 
cubes, rectangular blocks, prisms, pyramids, cones, cylinders, 
spheres, &c., are to be had for this purpose from any artists' - 
colourman ; and the more perfect the student can make him- 
self in drawing them the better. 

Let us imagine him seated about six feet from a square 
table, upon which are several rectangular solids. We shall 
suppose that in looking towards the centre of a group of 
them, his line of vision will be at right angles to the edge of 
the table. Let him now hold up his drawing-board vertically 
between him and the table, parallel with the table's edge, and 
covering completely the extent of space which he intends to 
represent. It is now in its true place as a picture-plane ; and 
the drawing, when made, ought exactly to coincide with the 
actual lines of the group, as if it could be traced on a trans- 
parent drawing-board. Now it is clear that to secure this, it 
must be made of a particular size for any given distance of 
the drawing-board from the eye. In other words, if the board 
be held nearer the spectator, a smaller drawing will be suffi- 
cient to cover the whole, and if at a greater distance, a larger. 
It will be seen also that this difference of size is the only 
effect produced by changing the distance of the picture, so 
long as that between the eye and the models remains the 
same : the relation of the lines to each other remains un- 
changed though the distance of the board is changed. For 
example, in fig. 1 1, if the places of E and O are fixed, the 




FIG. ii. 

system of rays from O to E will remain constant : and if this 
is cut by planes parallel to each other, but at different dis- 
tances from E, as i and 2, it can be easily shewn that the 
forms of both sections would be similar, but that their linear 
size would vary directly as their distance from E. We have 
only then to consider what will be the most convenient size 
for our drawing, remembering that in fixing its scale we are 
really fixing the position of the picture-plane between the eye 



PERSPECTIVE, 337 

and the object. Pupils often ask whether they are to draw 
an object the same size as they see it, and cannot understand 
that any size may be the size they see it according to the 
distance they look at it from. Let the student therefore re- 
member, that though he may hold his board in a horizontal 
or any other position for the convenience of sketching, as soon 
as he has determined the size of any part of his drawing, and 
its space on his paper, he has fixed the true place of his 
picture-plane. And if he finds it necessary to try to discover 
the apparent direction of a line in his object compared with 
any fixed line on his paper or the edge of his board, he must 
hold the latter in its true position between himself and the 
model. 

One more point must be noticed before we begin our 
sketch : that is to say, the lateral direction of the picture- 
plane. The student has been told to consider PP parallel 
to the edge of the table, that being at right angles to the 
line which passes from the eye to about the centre of the group. 
But it is clear that it may have any other position, and still fulfil 
strictly all the conditions necessary for obtaining a perspec- 
tive projection upon it. Thus, in fig. 12, if the shaded figure 




FlO. 12. 

represents the plan of our object, and E the point of sight to 
which the rays from O converge, we can be sure that the 
cone of rays may be cut by a plane in any position what- 
ever, as at i, 2, 3 : and in each case, by definition the section 
produced would be the perspective of O, though they would 
be all different. They differ from each other in absolute 
form ; but while they are in the positions I, 2, 3, in which 
the sections of the cone of rays are produced, they will of 
course all present exactly the same impression of form, to an 

z 



338 PERSPECTIVE. 

eye at E, as the original O. Any such position then may be 
chosen for the picture-plane, provided the drawing, when 
made, shews clearly in what position it is supposed to be 
with regard to the spectator, and from what point it ought 
to be looked at. Most spectators naturally take their point 
of view somewhere nearly opposite the centre of the subject 
drawn. We must, therefore, choose such a position for our 
picture-plane as will be the most likely for the spectator to place 
it in with relation to himself in short, such a position as he will 
see it in. This will depend almost entirely on the extent of the 
subject to be represented. When the sketcher has made up 
his mind how far it is to stretch right and left, let him sup- 
pose his picture-plane to be placed at right angles to a line 
drawn from his eye to about the middle of it. We say about 
the middle, as it sometimes happens that by putting this 
central line a little to one side or the other of the exact 
centre, we may make the perspective forms of some of the 
objects seem simpler in their construction than they would 
otherwise be. 

To begin with our models. Hold up the board vertically, 
parallel to the edge of the table and at such a distance from 
the ground as to make its outline comfortably include all the 
group of models. Mark the point in your board exactly 
opposite the eye at right angles. That will be your centre 
of vision. One of the models is (say) a square block, and it 
has its nearest face just parallel to the edge of the table, 
while, from its being to left of the centre, and below the level 
of the eye, we can see its right side and top foreshortened. 
Now we know that in that position its nearest face is parallel 
to our picture-plane, and consequently the four lines which 
bound it can be drawn, two horizontal and two vertical, with 
as nearly as possible the same ratio to each other as the 
originals have. From the four corners of this face, lines pro- 
ceed straight from the spectator in a direction at right angles 
to the picture : three of which are visible. These, as was 
found before, will not be represented as parallel to each other, 
but will converge to a vanishing point, that vanishing point 
being in their case a centre of vision. Draw lines then of 
indefinite length, tending towards the point you have marked 



PERSPECTIVE. 



339 



as a centre, and then try to decide on the apparent breadth 
of the surfaces which are to represent the top and right side 
of the block. Any one with a good eye will do this rightly 
in a few trials keeping in mind that he must not look upon 
the surface of the top and side as receding space, but as all in 
the same plane as the near face. 

Sometimes he may help himself by holding out his pencil 
in an upright position at arm's length, marking on it with his 
thumb-nail the apparent width of the top, and comparing this 
with the height of the face he has drawn, so as to get the 




FIG. 13. 

proportion between them. Or he may look at the model 
and imagine a perpendicular dropped from a farther corner 
on the near edge, and observe in what proportion the latter 
is divided by it, and reverse this operation in his drawing. 
As a rule, the tendency is at first to make receding surfaces 
much larger than they should be. This should be kept in 
mind as a general axiom, that where lines converge rapidly 

Z 1 



340 PERSPECTIVE. 

and their vanishing point is near their origin, a smaller width 
will represent as much of the receding surface as a greater 
would do were the vanishing point farther off, and the con- 
vergence, consequently, less apparent. 

We learn, then, from the above, and what has gone before 
at p. 326, that when a sketcher observes lines in a scene 
before him, whose direction with respect to his picture-plane 
or picture is the same as that of those in the block above 
(fig. 13), they must be treated in the same way). Those 
parallel to the picture, stretching right and left or up and 
down, will be in the picture horizontal and vertical respec- 
tively ; while those which stretch into the picture in a direc- 
tion perpendicular to the others must vanish in the centre of 
vision. 

Again : since the upper surface of the block, and that of 
the table, are both below the level of the eye, they are both 
visible. On the paper they will be represented by spaces 
bounded by horizontal lines, the lowest in each case repre- 
senting the near edge. If the block were to be raised to a 
level with the eye, none of its upper surface would be seen ; 
that would be a straight line : were it raised above the eye 
it would also be invisible from being hidden by the block 
itself; or if it were possible to see under the surface, the 
upper line would represent the nearest edge and the lower 
the more distant. This would be accounted for in theory by 
the position of the vanishing line of horizontal planes. It 
was pointed out that planes vanish in lines as lines vanish in 
points ; and this is neither more nor less than saying that all 
lines, the originals of which lie in one plane, will have their 
vanishing points in one straight line, and that this line will 
be where another plane, parallel to the first but passing 
through the point of sight E, would meet PP. If, therefore, 
we imagine a horizontal plane from the eye to the picture, it 
will clearly intersect the picture in the horizontal line HL 
which passes through the centre of vision. Therefore every 
surface in the drawing which represents a portion of a hori- 
zontal plane, as the table, the top of the block, &c., will appear 
to tend to this HL. That is to say, of that portion of PP 
which stands for horizontal surface, the near edge will be the 



PERSPECTIVE. 341 

under one when it is below HL ; the upper when above HL ; 
and when the horizontal surfaces are on a level with HL, 
both the nearer and further boundary lines will coincide with 
HL. 

Let the sketcher then remember that all lines in the scene 
before him which are in a horizontal position, vanish some- 
where in the horizontal line: as in buildings, the roof-line, 
eaves, window-sills, &c. Of course, in a drawing, the position 
of a vanishing point can only be inferred when two or more 
lines, representing parallels converge towards it ; and the 
most that the sketcher can do is to avoid glaring contra- 
diction of the above law : such as, for instance, drawing two 
lines, which from the construction of an object are parallel 
in such a direction that they would evidently meet each other 
before other parallels of the same set, and palpably below or 
above their proper vanishing line. 

But returning to our models, let us assume that to the right 
of the block now drawn there stands a rectangular box, with 
the lid open and leaning back. Taking the box-part first, 
we find its faces no longer parallel, or at right angles to the 
picture-plane. The two faces towards the front are seen to 
be inclined to the edge of the table, and therefore to PP ; 
and one of them, the left one, evidently makes a greater angle 
with it than the other. We shall find in this case, (i) that the 
upright edges are still vertical lines in the picture ; (2) that 
the horizontal lines bounding the two upright planes converge 
right and left respectively to the vanishing points on the hori- 
zontal line ; (3) that those on the left converge more rapidly 
than those on the right, owing to the position of their respec- 
tive vanishing points. If, as described at p. 357, lines be sup- 
posed to proceed from the eye right and left, in the same 
directions as the edges of the box, i.e. making a greater angle 
with the picture on the left and a smaller on the right, the 
line to the left will clearly meet the picture in a point nearer 
the centre than the other ; and therefore the convergence to 
this vanishing point of the lines of the box will be more ap- 
parent on the left than on the right. At the same time, the 
apparent width of the face on the left will be less in propor- 
tion to its true size than the other. 



342 PERSPEC TI VE. 

In the middle of this left side is seen the keyhole of the 
lock ; the position of which can be determined accurately 
enough by the eye, the pupil keeping in mind that the 
farther half appears a little less than the near one. The exact 
point of bisection of the sides may be found by drawing the 
two diagonals, which cross each other in the centre of these 
rectangular faces, and an upright line through that centre will 
give the middle line. 

The inclined lid gives us an instance of lines inclined to 
both the horizontal line and the picture-plane ; and in drawing 
them the chief thing the pupil will have to look to will be 
their convergence. In this he will be assisted by knowing 
whereabouts the vanishing points are. First, let us point out 
that the upper edge of the lid is still parallel to that on which 
it hinges, and therefore tends to the same vanishing point in 
the horizontal line on the left of the centre. Again, the place 
of the vanishing point of the inclined edges can be realized 
as before by conceiving a line to pass through the eye parallel 
to them to meet PP. 

This it would do immediately over the vanishing point, on 
the horizontal line of the end lines of the box, the height 
above being fixed by the size of the angle which the sloping 
edges make with the ground. 

These then must be drawn so as to incline together slightly 
from below upwards ; but the convergence must be less than 
that of the horizontal edges of the box which vanish to the 
right, as the vanishing point of the latter is not so distant. 

In the same way the short inclined edges of the lid, which 
mark its thickness, must tend to a vanishing point which is 
immediately under the last, below HL : and they will con- 
sequently converge from above downwards. 

Some such knowledge of perspective as this will help the 
student in drawing from actual things which involve straight 
lines, either in their construction or their arrangement : and 
there are practically but few things which cannot be so referred 
to straight lines, whose perspective position will help him to 
a true rendering of all the forms in his picture. In ' Modern 
Painters,' vol. iv., the author points out the unmistakeable 
influence of visual perspective laws even on the representa- 



PERSPECTIVE. 343 

tions of such apparently intractable things as mountain peaks 
and crests, cloud-forms, &c. The influence of such principles 
as have been here pointed out, of the convergence of lines, &c. 
on the drawing of their forms, is often much more clearly 
traceable than one might imagine. However irregular or 
amorphous they may be, the various points in the representa- 
tion of an object must arrange themselves strictly according 
to the principles laid down : though to determine this arrange- 
ment exactly would be infinitely tedious and complicated. 
Still, in many instances, the knowledge of what the effect is, 
in determinable cases, is of use, where the things to be drawn 
are not strictly determinable. For example, the banks of a 
river may be anything but straight or parallel to each other, 
but may yet be near enough to straightness and parallelism, 
to exhibit very distinctly that convergence to a vanishing 
point which would be seen in them if they were so 1 . 

In the drawing of Cephalus and Procris there is not a 
straight line in the picture : yet the law that the perspectives 
of lines which recede from the spectator at right angles with 
the picture have their point of convergence in the centre of 
vision, has its effect, apparent by the narrowing of the path 
as it recedes from the front into the wood, by the diminution 
of length and thickness in the tree-trunks, and of the spaces 
between them, and (in the mezzotint engraving) by the top 
line of the clump of trees cresting the high ground on the 
right. 

In the accompanying sketch of the old mill at Iffley will 
be found examples of straight lines in most of the positions 
in which they will be likely to occur, and an illustration of 
some of pur rules. Observe, first, that none of the faces of 
the building are at right angles to the picture, and that those 
which face the right are inclined to it at a greater angle with 

1 The peculiar melancholy with which most people's minds are lightly touched 
by the side of a quiet river, especially in the evening or morning, is connected with 
the fact of the banks leading the eye away into the far distance, and generally to 
the horizon, with a sense of infinity. And these lines also give one, consciously or 
unconsciously, a sense of the wandering and unreturning flow of the river, and 
guide the mind to various comparisons, which affect it freshly enough when they 
suggest themselves naturally ; but would have a very platitudinarian appearance 
on paper. R. ST. J. T. 



344 



PERSPECT1 V.E. 



it than the other, or recede more directly from the front. All 
the horizontal lines, therefore, which run in this direction, the 
ridge-lines, eaves, sills of windows and doors, &c., converge to 
a vanishing point which is nearer the centre of the picture 
than that of the corresponding lines running to the left. The 
horizontal line drawn across the picture shews the level of the 
eye: and since this contains the vanishing points first men- 




IFFLEY MILL. 

tioned, all the lines which are above this level incline down- 
ward to meet it, and all below the reverse. This would be 
sufficient to point out the level of the eye if the horizontal 
line were not drawn. 

Next, take note of the direction of the lines of the gables. 
Their highest points, I, 2, 3, &c., are of course farther from 
the spectator than the lowest points visible, 4, 5, &c. Con- 
sequently the lines 5-1, 4-2, &c. incline upwards from the 



PERSPECTIVE. 



345 



picture towards the left. Their vanishing point will then be 
above the horizontal line, and in the perpendicular through 
that vanishing point towards which the horizontal line on the 
left tends. It will in this case be a long way off, and the 
convergence of the lines will be very slight ; so that it might 
be considered of very little use in drawing the lines : but it is 
good for the student to know that it is there, as he will not 
then be likely to place the lines so that two will evidently 
meet each other before the rest, or, as is very commonly done, 
on the other side. The lines descending towards the left from 
the points of the gables will have their vanishing point below 
the horizontal line in the same perpendicular as the others, 
since their lowest points are at a greater distance from the 
picture than their highest ; and because they are inclined at 
the same angle with the ground as the lines 1-5, 24, &c. 

The sides of the punt happen to be parallel to the picture, 
and are in consequence represented by horizontal lines ; while 
the ends, which are necessarily at right angles with the sides, 
and therefore with the picture, converge towards the centre 
of vision, which is on the side of the doorway, and of course 
in the horizontal line. 



CHAPTER XI. 

REMARKS ON THE DIAGRAMS OF THE BONES 
AND MUSCLES. 

THE system of our Schools is at present founded on 
the study of the human figure ; and an acquaintance with it 
appears to be a necessity, not only to the historical painter, 
but to all that large class of genre and domestic or mixed- 
landscape painters who appeal to interest in figures as well as 
background. A certain knowledge, accurate if limited, of the 
skeleton, of the larger or more superficial muscles, and the 
nude form in action or in rest, seems a necessity to all 
students, the two former studies being necessary preliminaries 
to the third. But it must be observed, that for the pur- 
poses of historical painting, the study of the nude figure 
is only preparatory to the representation of the figure 
draped or armed, and that much intervenes between being 
able to draw the figure at rest, and in motion. Great 
deeds or endurances, the proper subjects of historical record 
in form and colour, are seldom done by persons in a state 
of nudity. It is one object of a historical canvas to display 
the action of the bodies represented under their dress. But 
their mechanism is another thing : for human and all other 
action depends on dynamic force, and on individuality, as well 
as mechanical contrivance ; so that the anatomy of a great 
picture is an indispensable part of the subject, and not the 
whole of it. Every anatomical error diminishes the value 
of the work ; but in like manner every exaggeration which 
withdraws attention from the real import of the picture to 
the science of corporeal mechanics is an error also. It is 
too frequently the case that a picture which must have 
anatomy in it is made into an anatomical picture, because 
the scientific artist cannot help thinking of structure instead 
of form, and of the interior instead of the exterior ; and loses 
the spirit of action in his characters, in inquiry as to the 



THE HUMAN FIGURE. 347 

cordage and leverage by which they are exerting themselves. 
There is a great difference between action and attitude, pose 
and repose. The first and last are the painter's real object ; 
and too exclusive study of anatomy is apt to defeat it. And 
it seems allowable here in passing, at least to express our 
feeling of the importance of drawing the draped form, and 
of the degree in which it might be substituted for that inter- 
minable study of the nude, which is at best a dubious element 
in the education and life of the modern painter. It is a 
common saying of our best artists that the student is always 
making progress while he is working at drapery. The folds 
or flutter of drapery are good exponents of action or re- 
pose, probably conveying as strong an idea of either to the 
public in general as the play of the muscles through the skin 
conveys to the skilled anatomist. Without their drapery, the 
female figures of the Elgin Pediment would look like Cleopa- 
tras ; and the flying cloaks of the Knights of Athens express 
the action of their horses, and the freshness of an Aegean 
breeze. The Greek alone possessed unconscious science. In 
some cases where great genius and great knowledge are com- 
bined, as pre-eminently in that of Michael Angelo, a kind of 
internal conflict between the spiritual and the material, between 
Expression and Mechanism, seems to have been always going 
on in the artist's mind, to the disadvantage of some of his 
works. In his and Rafael's noblest groups of figures, the con- 
ception of all the forms in action must have been prior to their 
anatomical construction ; and the science of anatomy must 
have taken its right place accordingly : directing the painter 
how to do correctly what his own conceptions had already 
directed him to do. 

It seems that at present, our student must have a rudimen- 
tary knowledge of artistic anatomy ; and the woodcuts here 
given are an attempt to illustrate it for him in the simplest 
way. It is conceived that they will be enough, if they are 
studied with care, to enable him to provide himself with correct 
drawings, on a large scale, of the exterior muscles of the 
body, of its outer form with its skin and integuments, and 
of its inner framework. They can be no more than a con- 
venience to young draughtsmen ; for no one can learn the 
living action of the bones and muscles without drawing them 



348 EVIDENCE ON FRENCH SCHOOLS. 

at work. Of course the question remains, with all its diffi- 
culties, how much study of structure is necessary for the 
painter ; one may generally say, it is good for him to take as 
much as he can assimilate, without being thwarted or dis- 
tracted by the pride of Science ; and the work of Dr. Fau, 
edited by Mr. Knox, or, Mr. Bonomi's Proportions of the 
Human Figure, will give him all the information he can desire. 
Both are, in fact, preparatory courses before our pupil can 
properly speaking, begin real study of art. When he has 
learnt the ordinary processes of drawing and the names and 
arrangement of bones and muscles, he has learnt as it were to 
set up the framework and the walls of man's house of flesh : 
but this is a mere preliminary to drawing it as it stands : and 
drawing it as it stands is only a necessary introduction to draw- 
ing it in motion. Still, as study of the framework will teach 
him correctness and not distract him with beauty, it is the best 
training he can have. The study of the form from casts intro- 
duces him to beauty : and when he has really mastered it, we 
are inclined to give him further liberty in three important ways. 
First, when an able master will give him leave, he may pro- 
ceed from the cast in chalk to the cast in brush and sepia, 
and then to the cast in oil-monochrome. Secondly, when 
he is an advanced student of human form in sepia, or with 
the hard-point, he may begin to try experiments in colour, 
always by way of exercise. Thirdly, if he has the painful 
gift of originality in him, he may now begin to try to use it 
by designs in pen-and-ink etching ; inventing or choosing 
his own subjects. This, we apprehend, is an adaptation of 
the severe and excellent system of the French ateliers. Their 
method of study has this advantage over our own, that it 
really is a system of progressive training, capable of being 
adapted to almost any student's wants. Its principle is severe 
labour and gradual progress, repression of rude originality 
and devotion to study of scientific drawing, with continual 
reference from the living model to the cast, and from either 
to the skeleton. 

Extracts from Mr. Armit age's evidence before the R. A. Commission. 

Blue-book, p. 543. Ans. 5050, et sqq. 

* Q. Do you consider the French better draughtsmen than the English 
and why) ? 



FRENCH SCHOOLS. 349 

' A. Decidedly : from their thorough education, and the length of time 
which they devote to the art of drawing. In England nobody knows what 
drawing is ; it is considered that two hours a day is quite sufficient for 
learning the art. What would be thought of devoting only two hours a 
day to the practice of music ? You have to give seven or eight if you want 
to acquire proficiency ; and the art of drawing is at least as difficult to 
acquire. 

' Q. What time do the students in France give to art ? 

' A. In the private ateliers five hours a day, four of which are devoted to 
downright hard work ; the remainder being spent in intervals for rest. 
The public school in the evening afterwards is two hours. 

' There are two separate rooms, one for the antique, the other for the 
living model. On entering the school the student was set to work at 
once in the antique school from some cast, and the master would three 
times a week go among the students and correct the drawing of every 
individual 

' When the professor thinks the student sufficiently expert in drawing 
from the antique, he tells him to go into the school of the living model, 
where he has to draw with chalk and charcoal perhaps for another year. 
Some have to draw for two or three years from the life before they are 
allowed the use of colours. It is only when the master is fully convinced 
that the student is sufficiently advanced, that he allows him to take the 
palette and colours and begin to paint.' 

The French academic system provides also that the stronger 
and higher class of pupils shall not be compelled by poverty 
to waste time in painting pictures for sale, but be supported 
by Art Scholarships, so as to be kept long enough in the 
student state, and not leave it till they are masters of line, 
light-and-shade, and a certain (perhaps not very wide) range 
of colour. In England, a young man of promise is not only 
allowed, but forced, to begin to paint for money before he 
has half learnt to paint, or even to draw ; and in conse- 
quence he never completes his Art-education at all ; and 
though natural power, feeling, and sense of colour may enable 
him to produce original pictures, yet he is hampered in his 
choice of subject because he is not master of the human 
figure, and is not really competent to aspire to serious work for 
want of severe study. He is often like a clever private-school 
boy who has not learnt his grammar and must either fail 
for want of it, or pick it up by painful waste of labour. 

The fact is that our Art Schools have done more than they 
professed to do. Their main object was at first supposed to 



350 ALLOWABLE INDULGENCES. 

be the production of artistic patterns for various manufactures, 
and the desired results were produced. Young persons were 
taught real drawing from Nature, and found it easy to pro- 
duce pretty designs in consequence. But a number of them 
now feel also that there are a great many objects in Art, 
besides and above good designs for lace or wall-papers ; and 
that the good training which has been given them is training 
for higher work as well as for lower. They want, in fact, to 
paint pictures. Many of our Art-manufacture schools have 
now become Art Schools properly speaking : and offer regular 
examinations, with pass degrees and prizes, for anatomy, water- 
colouring, and painting. It is a question for the Universities 
to consider whether they may not be right in acting in this 
direction likewise. The encouragement to all higher forms 
of Art would be incalculably great, if the leading educational 
bodies in this country would recognize Art as an object and 
means of Education. 

Still the sense and desire of beauty are something : and no 
one perhaps is strong enough to go through the proper series 
of exercises without some indulgence in anticipation of the 
use of powers which he has yet to gain. Turner's system in 
his wide study of inanimate nature was to treat himself to 
bright local colour in the foregrounds of his sober early pic- 
tures ; which were in fact saleable and priceless studies in 
light and shade. He coloured dead fish like opals on his 
beach foregrounds ; he introduced rainbows into his storms ; 
he brought in peacocks, or striped dresses, or anything which 
would give him the keen enjoyment of colour without doing 
him harm. And we think that the chief reason for using the 
human figure as a means of general training for all pupils who 
are strong enough to begin to study it, is that it gives the 
greatest amount of beauty of line in its severest form, and 
the most delicate gradations of shade in their subtlest form. 
Any one who has learnt accurate drawing by means of 
straight lines, or, as the French call it, ' drawing square,' will 
gladly welcome the greater difficulties and increased interest 
of drawing from the cast. It is also the best means of teach- 
ing the pupil, who has hitherto depended on lines for all 
marked form and only learnt rounding as an exercise, that 



SONES AND MUSCLES. 351 

there are no lines in Nature after all, and that he must ex- 
press form by subtle shades. And of course as he acquires 
an idea of muscular form in man, he is sure to gain power of 
appreciating surface, and to learn to express its rise and fall 
by delicate shades without cutting lines. In short, he will 
come to understand perspective in a practical and unconscious 
way ; and in fact a very great deal of perspective is to be 
learnt, for purposes of Art, by drawing the deltoid and pec- 
toral muscles again and again. 

So far for the reasons for making use of the human figure 
(generally speaking, and in its various details), as containing 
a grammar of practical Art-instruction. 

This is not the proper place to go into the question of how 
great knowledge of the internal structure of things is required 
of one who only seeks to represent their outward appearance. 
As a practical rule, the best conditions of teaching seem to 
be those of good studios or ateliers in France or this country, 
where the skeleton and anatomical drawings are always at 
hand, for continual comparison with the cast, and also with 
the living model. Drawing from one or the other, with 
continual reference to the other two, and a little advice from 
a good master, will leave little to desire as to technical 
instruction. Inventive thought and the spirit of the painter 
are matters either of spiritual gift or of liberal education. 

The bones and muscles may be drawn correctly on an en- 
larged scale by the use of the diagrams at pp. 353, 359, 361. 
They are enclosed in a rectangle, which is graduated on 
two sides in half-inches ; on the third side, the artist's way 
of calculating by heads is illustrated. If the pupil divides 
one of them into half-inch squares with a rule and pencil, 
he will be able to construct a rectangle divided in like 
manner in any proportion he pleases, and can proceed to 
draw first the outline of the body, and then the skeleton 
within it, in chalk or sepia. He can then proceed to the 
back muscles, which are easier ; and, lastly, to the front ones. 
It is better that he should draw them in the flat before pro- 
ceeding to the cast ; but it need only be in correct outline, 
with just so many lines of the surface of each muscle as shall 
enable him to understand its working and fibrous structure. 



352 ANATOMY OF THE DISCOBOLUS. 

He will afterwards find it best to draw superficial dissections 
of some of his copies of full-length figures, taking great pains 
with the varied position of the muscles and bones. If it 
be thought unnecessary to make him copy the figures as 
given in this book (and the assistance of a good master may 
render it so), he had better begin with drawing the back of 
a small cast of the Discobolus, and set up the bones and 
construct the muscular frame within his outline, according to 
the illustrations. A small cast is recommended at first, 
because it is easier to draw correctly from it than from a 
larger one, and the Discobolus, though a very convenient 
and beautiful model, is not an easy one. It is apparently 
that of an athlete trained for the cestus 1 , in rather too fleshy 
condition to give sharp shadow to his muscles ; and con- 
sequently the lines of his back are not marked enough 
for easy drawing. But the following directions seem suffi- 
cient for a student who wishes to begin drawing him 
from the cast. (It is assumed that where the cast is used in 
the first instance, the student has a good book of anatomy 
at hand ; and that he proposes to make two outlines, and to 
draw the bones properly within one of them, and the muscles 
in another.) 

BACK MUSCLES. 

X Spine of Scapula. A Seven Cervical Vertebrae. H Great Trochanter. 
(Occipital on back of head omitted.) 



1. Trapezoid or cucullaris. 

2. Deltoids, interlaced half-way up. 

3. Latissimus dorsi. 

4. Infra spinatus. 

5. Teres minor. 

6. Teres major. 

7. Rhomboidal. 

8. Sacro-lumbar fleshy masses. . 

9. Obliquus externus. 

10. Gluteus maximus. 

11. Gluteus medius. 

12. Vastus externus. 

13. Biceps femoris. 

14. Semitendinosus. 



15. Triceps or adductor femoris. 

1 6. Semimembranosus. 

17. Gastrocnemius. 

r anconeous exterior. 

1 8. Triceps . , . 

.. < interior, 

brachii . 

<- longus. 

19. Supinator radii longus. 

20. Radialis externus longus. 

21. Extensor common to three first 

fingers. 

22. Extensor of little finger. 

23. Short muscle of the thumb. 

24. Ulnar Flexors. 



1 See 'Last days of Pompeii' for the curious but probably correct statement that 
the pancratiasts sought to encourage the growth of flesh. Strange as this seems, 




A a 



BLOCKING OUT. 355 

First let him mark the place at which his easel or desk 
stands (having previously arranged his cast with its back 
towards him, as in the photograph and woodcut). Their 
relative positions ought not to be altered until his work is 
done. He will probably find it easier to work at a desk at 
first ; but in any case all his measurements must be made 
from exactly the same place. 

As only half the head is visible in the back view of the 
Discobolus, the length of some other part must be chosen as 
a general standard of measurement all over. 

1. Hold up your pencil at arm's length and measure the 
cast accurately, say at CD, across the hips ; then try how 
many times that length is contained in a perpendicular line 
of the height of the whole cast. That line, measured with 
the pencil at arm's length, perpendicularly down the figure, 
is as nearly as possible 5^ times the length of the waist-line 
CD. In our small figure C D is exactly i^ inch long, and 
the height of the figure is 7\ inches. It is duly scaled 
for enlargement. Consider your perpendicular line A B 
as touching the back of the athlete's skull. Then hold up 
your pencil or a plumb-line against the cast, and measure 
off two waist-lengths from the top of your perpendicular, and 
three from its very bottom : mark them. 

2. Hold a plumb-line upagain,and calculate as exactly as pos- 
sible where such perpendicular from the back of the skull cuts 
across the waist-line of the cast : it falls just one-third across: 
draw your waist-line accordingly at the proper perpendicular 
height, just below your second waist-length from the head. 

3. You have now the height of your figure, and one of its 
breadths. Measure across the shoulders at the widest part ; 
it is a waist and two-thirds : draw a line of that length for the 
very broadest part of the shoulders, at exactly a waist from 
the top of the head. You will find that at that point on your 

it must be remembered that the cestus was so heavy and dangerous a weapon (as 
Lord Lytton says), that but a few exchanges probably settled every contest with it. 
Few ' rounds ' can ever have been fought ; the first home-blow on or about the 
head would determine all ; consequently the necessity for high or fine condition 
would be removed. The Fighting Gladiator might seem to prove that modern ideas 
of condition were conformed to in some cases, if it represented a gladiator at all ; but 
it is evidently the statue of an infantry soldier engaged with a mounted combatant. 

A a 2 



356 DISTANCES. 

perpendicular line it is just a waist to the outer edge of the 
right deltoid muscle above its lower point. Consequently the 
waist-length will be on that side and the two-thirds on the 
other. Draw this line, carry off the curve of the deltoids in 
a right line to the apex of the perpendicular line, and square 
the head. 

4. Measure again from the left elbow to the right inner 
knuckle, 2 waists. Knowing the point of the left shoulder, 
you will easily judge the slight inclination of the line from 
it to the point of the elbow, and from thence to the discus. 
You can then draw the elbow and knuckle line, EF, at 2 
waists from top of head, 2|- waists in length. Next, you have 
one waist from x, the top of the angle of the shoulder, to the 
elbow at E, and it is almost exactly the same distance from 
the same point to the upper waist-angle at M : complete this 
isosceles triangle, and measure off the breadth of the arm at 
its base. Block out upper arm and side. 

Again : from x at top of the shoulder across deltoid muscle ; 
= from below deltoid to armpit, separation of arm 

from side ; 

= from that to upper waist very nearly. 
Measure, with the help of one of the sides, x M of your isosceles 
triangle ; determine points and block out. It is also an 
isosceles triangle on the other side from y to F, and to the 
intersection of the line EF with the side. 

5. The plumb-line will now shew you that the right ankle- 
bone and knuckle are in an exactly vertical line, and the left 
armpit, little finger, and end of the block very nearly so. So 
you have the lines GH, FK. 

6. It is exactly one waist perpendicular from the separation 
of the left arm and side at G to the discus at H, and a very 
little more from C at the left end of the waist-line to the 
separation of the thighs. In fact, calling that point L, C L D 
is almost exactly an equilateral triangle. This will determine 
your main points and distances. You will easily calculate 
the size of the hands, &c. by the points already known ; and 
when these lines are secured and understood, your work 
should proceed very rapidly and quite correctly. Time may 
be lost in correcting errors and changing one's ideas, to any 
extent ; but careful preparation saves it. 



PROGRESSIVE DRA WING. 357 

The outer lines may at all events be drawn by themselves 
in the order we have given, from the diagram ; they will 
illustrate the process of ' blocking out ' tolerably well. 

The object of this progressive system of exercises is, as will 
be seen, to enable the pupil to pick up a beginner's knowledge 
of anatomy while he is labouring at his hand-and-eye educa- 
tion. It is not likely that his attention will be distracted from 
the search after technical skill in drawing by merely having to 
know the names of the forms he draws. It is necessary to 
insert at least one drawing from the flat into the course 
that of the human skeleton. Actual skeletons of fine form 
are not always accessible ; and a little comparison of the 
drawing with the bones, when their names have been fairly 
well learnt, will be nearly sufficient knowledge of the ground- 
plan of God's image. Our series of examples, as will be 
seen, falls in with the course of anatomy usually pursued 
in Art Schools. The skeleton is drawn and the bones well 
learnt from the correctly imagined frame of some cast. The 
standing Discobolus will do as well as any other ; the 
Antinous has also great claims. The student has next to 
draw the skeleton clothed with its muscles : and by the 
time they are properly outlined and rounded in sepia, he 
will be pretty well acquainted with their names. But he 
is not perfect in his rudimentary knowledge of muscles 
and bones till he can construct and draw out without copy 
a tolerably correct and well-proportioned skeleton or ecorche. 
And he will not have made the best artistic use of his 
knowledge of the frame-machinery of man until he has learnt 
to see that it is merely an introduction to his after study 
from the life. One cannot be a thorough painter without 
anatomy ; it is hardly possible to advance in any branch of 
Art without it l ; but it is a means of study, and not an 

1 Sir Joshua Reynolds's words, ' A landscape painter ought to study anatomically 
all the objects which he paints,' are used, we are glad to see, as a motto for a work 
already in use at South Kensington, which is now to be issued to subscribers. It 
is arranged by Thomas Hatton, Esq., and called ' The Anatomy of Foliage,' and 
consists of a series of photographs, in pairs one of a tree in winter, the other of 
the same in summer. The principle is obvious, and carries out the instructions of 
Harding, which are invaluable for beginners. The study of vegetable anatomy by 
the artist seems to stand on different grounds from that of the human skeleton ; since 
trees skew their anatomy in a natural way for great part of the year, and the 
human frame conceals its bones. 



358 



LIST OF BONES AND MUSCLES. 



LIST OF BOXES AND MUSCLES. 



BONES. 

1. Frontal. 

2. Parietal. 

3. Temporal. 

4. Occipital. 

5. Seven cervical vertebrae. 

6. Clavicle. 

7. Scapula. 

8. Twelve dorsal vertebrae. 

9. Humerus. 

10. Five lumbar vertebrae. 

11. Ulna. 

12. Radius. 

13. Carpus. 

14. Metacarpus. 

15. Phalanges. 

1 6. Pelvis. 

17. Ilium. 
r8. Ischium. 

19. Pubis. 

20. Sternum. 

21. Sacrum. 

22. Femur. 

23. Trochanters. 

24. Patella. 

25. Tibia. 

26. Fibula. 

27. Tarsus. 

28. Metatarsus. 

29. Phalanges. 

30. End of fibula. 

31. Malleolus. 

32. Five true ribs. 

33. Five false ribs. 



FRONT MUSCLES. 

1. Deltoid. 

2. Biceps. 

3. Triceps. 

4. Pronator radii teres. 

5. Supinator radii longus. 

6. Flexor carpi radialis. 

7. Palmaris longus. 

8. Flexor carpi ulnaris. 

9. Pectoralis major. 

10. Obliquus descendens. 

11. Cucullaris (trapezius). 

12. Sterno mastoideus. 

13. Sterno hyoideus. 

14. Serratus major. 

15. Rectus abdominis. 

1 6. Frontalis. 

17. Temporalis. 

1 8. Iliacus. 

19. Adductor longus (triceps). 

20. Pectinalis. 

21. Biceps femoris. 

22. Gracilis. 

23. Sartorius. 

24. Rectus femoris. 

25. Vastus internus. 

26. Tensor vaginae femoris. 

27. Vastus externus. 

28. Tibialis anticus. 

29. Gastrocnemius. 



FRONT VIEW OF DISCOBOLUS. 363 

end. Anatomical correctness is no more than grammatical 
correctness trifling to possess, but ruinous to be without ; 
and beauty of drawing is like beauty of diction, or pleasure 
in well-doing, a kind of tiuyiyvonevov re'Aos to the work, 
which comes one knows not how. For there is a kind of 
beauty in accuracy combined with ease, even though they 
are combined in drawing an ugly object. It seems para- 
doxical to talk of a beautiful drawing of a skeleton ; but, at 
all events, a bad copy of one is so infinitely worse a thing to 
look at, that the use of the term beautiful may be allowed by 
force of contrast ; in fact, it is the drawing which is beautiful, 
or rather, excellent, and not the bones. 

Drawings from the cast should, as a rule, be made of the full 
size of the cast. This is impossible in most whole-length 
studies, but should be complied with in other cases. The 
pupil should have every advantage given him in arrange- 
ment of lateral light above his work, comfortable desks and 
easels, and good materials, and everything should be done to 
enable him to concentrate his attention on mathematical 
accuracy of proportion, between the distances and comparative 
sizes of parts, in his model and his drawing. 

Almost all draughtsmen vary their method of calculating 
distances in copying a statue. We have already attempted 
an analysis of the process, but repeat it for the front of the 
figure, measuring by heads. The Discobolus shall be the 
chosen model ; and charcoal the material, until our outline is 
absolutely mastered. 

1. Mark the exact distance at which you sit from your 
copy, noting the difference between your view of it when you 
sit up and when you lean back. If possible, make a chalk 
mark for your chair, easel, and model. 

2. Draw a perpendicular line of the height you mean your 
drawing to be, and a horizontal one across it at top where you 
mean to begin : also at its lower end. This will be the height 
of your copy. 

3. Hold up your pencil at arm's length against the cast } 
measuring with your thumb the distance from the top of the 
hair to the point of the chin. That is what artists call a 
head, and there are eight heads in the average male figure. 



364 DIMENSIONS OF FIGURE. 

The Discobolus, like many other athletic statues, is shorter in 
proportion; only just seven-and-a-half 1 . A head is a face 
and one-fifth, so that there will be no difficulty in reducing 
this measurement to that in the note. 

BY HEADS. 

Chin to sternum, i ; to navel, 2 ; to ischium, 3 ; to knee, 5 ; to sole, 
7:7 + 1=8. 

Top of hair to forehead = roots of hair to centre of eye = thence to 
meeting of teeth = thence to chin ; each ^ head. 

1 We prefer Sir Joshua Reynolds's reckoning by faces, which we insert here. 

LENGTHS. 

The ancients commonly allowed 8 heads to their figures, or 7 for short herculean 
proportions; we ordinarily divide the figure into 10 laces. 

Faces. 

Crown to forehead oi 

From lowest hairs on forehead to bottom of chin . . . i 

(Forehead, face ; nose, A face ; mouth and chin, face.) 
Chin to pit between collar-bones ... . . . ' - , -of 
Pit of collar-bone to end of sternum f '. " . . . i 

To navel i face, to ischium i face i 

To upper part of knee 2 

Knee . . . o 

Lower knee to ankle 2 

To sole of foot o 

10 

(The face, it will be seen, is equally divided by a line drawn across through the 
eyes.) 

Faces. 
Humerus= 2 faces from shoulder to elbow . ' . . .2 

Elbow to root of little finger 2 



BREADTHS, &c. (APPROXIMATELY.) 

A man with arms outstretched is as broad as he is long, from point of longest 
finger on right hand to point of longest finger on left hand. 

Faces. 
From pit of collar-bones to shoulder, i face each way . . 2 

From shoulder each way, about \ face o 

(This may do for male or female.) 

Waist . ,.--.- i 

Hips 2 

Knee, about '. ; . o 

If lines be drawn from the points of a woman's breasts to the pit between 
the collar-bones, they form an equilateral triangle. 

The chest is one face deep from the pit of its colkr-bones to the ' box ' of its 
shoulder-blades. 

The sole of the foot is of the figure, and the thumb = i nose ( face). 
Middle of arm to beginning of head, 5 noses. 



A PPR OX IMA TE MEA SUREMENT. 365 

4. Having got the length of the head with your pencil, 
measure the cast by it accurately, and see how many times 
the head-length is contained in the length of the body. Be 
careful to make the pencil descend exactly in the same straight 
line in measuring. Divide your perpendicular line accordingly 
on your paper ; you have then the proper height of your 
drawing, correctly divided into its eight parts. That is to 
say, you know at what height the chin, the sternum, the navel, 
the ischium, the knee, and the small of the leg above the 
ankle of your copy ought to be. 

5. Hold up a plumb-line from the chin (or along the frontal 
line) of the cast, and mark on your paper where it runs along 
the body to the feet ; this should give you the pose of the 
figure, and enable you to mark the horizontal position of the 
above parts. 

6. You have now the necessary lengths to guide you in 
your drawing ; and may proceed to hold up your pencil once 
more at arm's length, to ascertain the breadths, or you may 
measure from the pit between the collar-bones (a most im- 
portant point to start from in all figure drawing) to the point 
of each shoulder. The usual breadths of various parts of the 
body are annexed. They may be committed to memory, but 
are best learnt practically ; or rather they are not learnt till 
the student is beyond reach of mistake in applying them. 

BREADTHS IN HEADS (FROM APOLLO BELVIDERE). 

Shoulders, 2 heads, across middle of deltoid muscles. 
Waist, at narrowest, i head. 
Hips, at fork of thighs, ij head. 
Arms, head. 
The head of the Apollo does not include the top-knot of hair. 

7. You have now secured your 'distances' or proportions 
with some correctness. You must proceed to block out your 
figure in straight lines, not attempting to imitate its curves. 
Treat it as you have treated any simple cast which has been 
put before you, and enclose it with straight lines, verifying 
them at convenient points, by holding up the pencil to the 
cast, and making distance A : B in cast equal to corresponding 
distance a : b in your copy. 



366 ANTIQUE PROPORTIONS. 

The measurement we have given by heads and faces is 
generally used, and has therefore been adopted. Yet on 
measuring casts of the great antique statues it will be found 
that eight heads is decidedly too large an allowance for the 
standard comparative height of a man. Almost all students 
will be surprised, on measurement, at the large size of the 
heads of statues which give the idea of delicate smallness by 
their finely-formed crania. This impression is probably de- 
rived also from their exquisite throat-poise, breadth of shoulder, 
and set of collar-bone. 

It seems that the standard of eight heads has been assumed 
from the Apollo Belvidere. By allowing rather largely for 
the KpvjBvXos of hair, and measuring down to the toe of the 
advanced foot, one can make that number of him. We add 
our measurement in heads of a few other well-known statues 
from casts or photographs. Heads 

Venus of Milo 7 

Venus (Townley) . . . . . nearly 8 

Discobolus (standing) 7^ 

Antinous 7^ 

Germanicus 8 

The 'little Apollo ' (Sauroctonos \\-onderfullylight, 

graceful, and agile) 7| according to 

Bonomi. 
Faun of Praxiteles 7! 

Nothing but continued practice will give the faculties of 
correct calculation of distances in drawing outline and of 
subtle gradation in light and shade. But when they are once 
gained they can hardly be lost, and they will between them 
enable any person to draw anything which may be set before 
him. They are as valuable in landscape sketching as in studio 
copying, and proper use of them makes the difference between 
good work and failure, truth and falsehood. 

When your charcoal outline is complete and correct, draw it 
firmly in with chalk, if you propose to make a chalk drawing, 
or oil study ; with a hard pencil if you mean to use sepia or 
water-colour. You should then have lines representing all 
the limits of your Discobolus correctly, and also lines repre- 
senting the direction, through their centre or darkest part, of 
the shades on the body which indicate the projections of the 



PREPARATION FOR SHADING. 367 

muscles, and the depressions which generally indicate bones, 
at least in the trunk. If you are going to use sepia, these 
latter lines, drawn through and so representing the deepest 
shade, must be erased before the water-colour shade is put on. 
It may be well to make a sketch in charcoal only, roughly but 
correctly imitating the shadows you have to copy by rubbing 
the charcoal in with your finger to the form ; then to transfer 
its outline to your paper, and to keep it beside you while you 
are repeating its shades in sepia. 

To transfer it, you have only to cover its back with black 
chalk, to lay it back downwards on a sheet of paper, and to 
pass a hard pencil point over its outline and leading lines. 
When you have secured your outline and leading lines, which 
guide you to the principal shades, you have in a great degree 
obtained the form, and have now to express by crafty grada- 
tions the right degree of projection. 

The Venus of Milo may be studied for extreme grace and 
repose of line. 

The Farnese Hercules, Atlas, or Laocoon as a map of the 
muscles. 

The Theseus and Ilissus for strength in repose. 
The Torso of the Vatican ('Michael Angelo's master'), for 
spring of muscle in motion, with the Warrior of Agasias, or 
' Fighting Gladiator.' With this, the Antinous, Germanicus, 
or the athlete with the strigil, for perfection of strength. 

[Of course, if the student is a young man at all given to 
rowing, gymnastics and the like, he will have opportunities of 
observing muscle in motion, which are quite invaluable. It is 
most important for him to store his memory with observed 
forms and facts, even before he can hope to be able to express 
them by drawing.] 

When he is well able to study the human figure in water- 
colour or oil from the cast, he has reached a point which 
allows him a retrospect. He has not only a good deal of hard 
work to look back to, but some substantial progress, from 
lines to solids, and from solids to the most beautiful and diffi- 
cult of all solid objects. He has reached a point of divergence 
in his progress. He will perhaps continue the study of the 
human form with a view to attempting the highest forms of 



368 VALUE OF FIGURE DRAWING. 

Art, that is to say of recording facts which concern the history 
and nature of man ; or in any case, he will have learnt enough 
accurate drawing to assist him very materially and protect 
him from anything like gross error, should he attempt portrait, 
or confine himself to landscape, genre, or still life. He has 
reached in one sense the end of the course of our present 
' national ' Art-schools ; and may, if he will, enter the regular 
course of schools of painting 1 . We have already given some 
reasons why the human figure should be the chief object of 
study. The principal one was its difficulty, from the extreme 
subtlety of its curves and roundings, and the absence of edges 
and outlines. The pupil will find that in drawing an arm or 
a leg, and especially in the more difficult study of a hand, 
nothing will avail him but knowledge of form without lines. 
And this is why it is expedient to commit the muscles to 
memory, and to make careful studies of them before attempt- 
ing the perfect form. The bones are all outline, the muscles 
give you the guidance of cutting lines over the whole surface. 
With the first attempts at drawing from the full-length cast 
begin all the difficulties of drawing surfaces and foreshorten- 
ings ; and nothing but severe practice can overcome them. 
In all work where delicate curves are concerned, as well as in 
all complicated subjects, without exception, the rules of perspec- 
tive are found rather negative than positive guides. They will 
secure one from error, especially in architectural work, where 
the principal lines of a subject are straight ; and as the fore- 
ground of a picture comes into existence they must be care- 
fully borne in mind. But in landscape which takes in a wide 
horizon, or in historical pictures of many figures and varied 
action, there is so much to think of besides vanishing points, 
and the difficulty of applying the rules of perspective is so 
insuperable, that a kind of tacit amnesty is allowed the artist, 
and if there be interest or beauty in his work, few critics are 
willing to search for mistakes in it ; or indeed able to verify 
them in the complications of the subject. We cannot parse 
every word we use, nor can the grammar of perspective be all 
repeated over every tree or stone in a landscape. Yet a 

1 The lectures and studio of the present Slade Professor of the London Uni- 
versity appear to promise the same kind of high instruction in this branch of Art, 
as Professor Ruskin's Landscape-teaching in Oxford. 



PERSPECTIVE. 369 

grammatical error is unpardonable in an educated speaker, 
and a careless perspective in a middle distance which offends 
an accurate eye, most grievously diminishes the value of the 
picture in which it occurs. We remember a water-colour of 
great beauty and value, where the principal figures stood in a 
hall or vestibule, with a high flight of stairs in the background, 
and an open door and lovely piece of garden-scene still further 
back, partly behind the stairs. An accurate eye instinctively 
began to count the steps, and compare their height with that 
of the door an ordinary back door of a handsome Italian 
house. Reckoning each stair at 5 inches in height, that of the 
door could not have been less than 35 feet ; and this absurdity, 
once observed, could hardly be banished from the eye or the 
mind. The fact is, that the rules of perspective ought never 
to be evidently broken, and that breach of them is failure in 
the grammar of Art ; but that in many cases it is impossible 
to apply them accurately enough to detect mistakes, if they 
exist. Wherever the artist can attend to them he is bound 
to do so. 

[The above introduction to Figure-Drawing is retained in the present edition of 
Pictorial Art for the convenience of students in earlier stages of progress, who can- 
not get lessons from a competent Art-Master. It is not intended for the more 
advanced draughtsman, who will already have learnt to construct similar diagrams 
of the figure for himself, and be familiar with his own method.] 



B b 



CHAPTER XII. 



[I am allowed by Miss Miller, of Felstead House, Oxford (for whose pupils this 
Lecture was written), to add it to this volume.] 



MY audience consists, I believe, entirely of ladies who are 
preparing to instruct other ladies, or to take general charge 
of female schools. You will understand the difficulty of the 
task which is before you the difficulty of getting through it 
well at all, the impossibility of visible success worthy of your 
own ideal of success. The cry of all honest labourers in educa- 
tion, as distinguished from dealers in information, is still what 
it always has been, Who is sufficient for these things ? And 
women teachers at least, are still for the most part called on 
to educate, not merely to inform. Year by year, the advanced 
courses of study which are in men's hands get more and more 
narrowly divided into specialties : division of labour is going 
too far ; men give their lives honourably up to some ramifica- 
tion of knowledge as students, and as teachers they naturally 
think only of telling their pupils all they can in their own 
department. They think about the subject and not about 
the pupil, and there is nothing to be said against them. But I 
apprehend that in the teaching of churchwomen in particular, 
moral education of the child will always be mingled with 
exposition of the subjects of its school work. You will want 
not only to teach children various subjects, but to make good 
children of them. And as your pupils go on to higher in- 



A LECTURE. 371 

struction, they will find that effort gradually relinquished as 
they gain strength, and shew what they have become in your 
hands ; so that as they pass into men's hands they will find 
their characters and duty in life less and less dwelt on ; and 
at last in the highest subjects of study, and in all the com- 
petitive trials where the rewards of successful study are 
sought for, they will find themselves valued, not at all by 
what they are, but by the work they can produce. And this 
is perfectly right and just, in every view ; especially in the 
religious one. For it is nowhere written or promised that 
the best people in the world shall have the best places, or even 
that the ablest shall have the most success. Goodness of 
character in our sense depends on spiritual motive, and must 
not look for worldly promotion as a matter of right or expec- 
tation : and what is more, it is assuredly demoralising to do 
so. The tools must go, after all, to him who can use them. 

You will, many of you at least, be called on to direct young 
people's studies, in a general way. I suppose that involves a 
general acquaintance with all their subjects of study, a sound 
knowledge up to a certain point. That I am sure you will 
obtain here. But then we are all made differently, and some 
of you will have specialties, favourite studies according to cha- 
racters and tastes. And I am to address myself in parti- 
cular, to those who have so far a special faculty for Fine Art, 
as at least to like drawing. And once for all, I have no doubt 
that the process of teaching children good drawing is prac- 
tically inseparable from the process of teaching them to be 
good children. Those who believe man to be a moral agent 
at all will never be able to separate Art from morals. The 
character does come out at the fingers' ends of the draughts- 
man, as soon as he really can draw. Even in prescribed 
elementary tasks, the faithful obedient spirit will always do 
honest work, and will have plodding and staying qualities ; 
and as soon as the manual language of Art is learnt, and 
choice of subject and work is allowed, you will see whether 
ordinary calculating people do not betake themselves to trying 
for prizes ; and if humble quiet people do not take to quiet 
subject, and find out the great beauty of little things ; and if 
keen bright people do not attempt too much, and fall and get 

B b 2 



3/2 A LECTURE. 

up again and make irregular progress ; and if every individual 
is not hampered in her drawing by the faults of her nature or 
self, and helped by her good qualities. I know that everybody 
can learn. Every person here with time, eyesight, persever- 
ance, a pencil, smooth paper, a pair of compasses, a T square, 
and a bit of India-rubber, may become an artist technically 
speaking, and produce work of standard merit in execution : 
success is a moral question, because, if there is perseverance 
enough it is a certainty. There is such a thing as genius for 
drawing, as for everything else : but it means, to all students, a 
transcendent faculty of taking trouble about your subject. And 
in Art we are all students always, as Michael Angelo still went 
to his drawing-school ' to learn something ' at fourscore years. 
Strong natural bent is much, but work is more : and natural 
bent can only shew itself by honest work. 

If you can sew, you can draw ; if you can play the piano, 
you can draw : there is nothing but eye, hand and purpose in 
learning either of these three things : but purpose is moral. 
And less, I think, depends now on originality in the early part 
of these studies, certainly of drawing, because instruction is 
so very much improved of late, and its principles so thoroughly 
agreed on. No less than of old is expected of the teacher, 
and much more of the pupil. Our Science and Art department 
system of training has done this at all events, that it has set 
down a good course of progressive exercises and methods, all 
of which can be acquired by taking trouble ; and none of them, 
I think, without. The amount of trouble is the question : and 
here comes in the difference of natural faculty. I do not know 
if you all study drawing ; but those who do will find that they 
make altogether different progress : some get on faster than 
others, and the same person proceeds at a very different pace at 
different times (I speak of real progress, and not of bad work 
which wastes time by repetition) Now why does one equally 
industrious person not get on so fast as another in Art ? 

Well, it is all subtlety and self-concentration ; at least I like 
the first word better than sensibility or sensitiveness, which 
have a passive meaning. There is subtlety of eye : one eye 
sees a form better, in a copy : measures a distance closer : 
.shews the brain behind it the way in which every touch was 



A LECTURE. 373 

put on, which produced a form in the copy. And one eye at 
first starting will do that better than another. But either of 
the two is capable of indefinite education according to the 
perseverance of the person who owns it. You may any of you 
learn to see, with a glass or otherwise, every touch in one of 
Turner's water-colours : then, your eye alone, if not your hand, 
is subtle enough to copy it. So of all your pupils : in teaching, 
as far as time permits, always try to see what they see, and to 
judge how far their eyesight carries them and their intelligence 
accompanies it. 

Then there is subtlety of hand. The nervous connexions, 
and muscular form, and fibrous structure, are naturally more 
perfect in one person than another, and in such a person the 
message of the eye to the brain results in a more perfect 
judgment of the necessary direction and force, that is to say 
of the necessary touch, and so the hand puts on a better touch 
at first, or will learn it or seem to learn more easily. But the 
hand will learn to obey by practice, just as the eye and brain 
will learn to command by practice, according to self-concen- 
tration. This is our third element of power : and power of 
self-concentration depends on effort, perseverance, sense of 
honour and duty. I often wish the words genius, enthusiasm, 
faculty, rapidity and the like had never been invented ; at all 
events they ought to be forbidden in schools, where nothing 
should be appealed to except the plain honour which will do 
its best, and the dogged desire to get a thing right. This you 
may anyhow be sure of, that any person whatever who will 
measure distances steadily will do better work than any other 
person who will not : that sensitive acute pupils may work faster 
than those of harder fibre, but can seldom work so hard, and 
have special temptations to idleness and failure ; and that in 
this branch of study as in all others, ' it is dogged as does it.' 

Self-concentration is a faculty which must be learned and 
cannot be taught : but what it results in, when you are doing 
a drawing, is that you know, what you are going to do next, 
and what you want to do in the end, when the thing is 
finished. You know you want to finish a copy of a leaf in 
the end, and you know, that you must put this pale tint over 
all of it except the high light first, taking the least bit more 



374 A LECTURE. 

colour into your brush towards the dark side. Then if you 
have self-concentration, you will be able to attend (though at 
last unconsciously, as your skill advances), to the outlines, 
to the exact quantity of the tint in your brush, and to the 
exact amount of necessary pressure on the brush and to 
these all combined at once into the action of putting it on 
right. 

That is the physico-mental process of learning methods ; 
that is to say, of technical instruction in Art. Art is rf\vrj, the 
ascertainedly best way of making or producing something. 
Science is knowledge, eTrtor^/nTj ; Knowledge of what ? Of 
ultimate laws or principles, of natural rules or reasons why 
so and so is the true way, and why the rules of Art produce 
such and such effects. Science is knowledge of the elements 
things are made of and their combinations and the corre- 
sponding variations and transmutations. All the arts which are 
grounded on sciences, stand on this knowledge of elements, of 
what things really are made of, of the qualities of substances, of 
what things will do if you put them together, and why, as far 
as Science has ascertained. And the final why when ascer- 
tained as far as possible, is called a law ; and by that name 
refers us to a law-giver. Architectural science stands on the 
laws of gravity, and directs us in every conceivable way how 
to apply that law, so as to have roofs over our heads in a per- 
manent way. The Architectural Art or mystery is the science 
of the rules of building in the strictest adherence to the law 
of gravity. Architecture in the sense of building is an art or 
mystery, not yet a. fate Art. For, why do not we call a good 
bricklayer who knows how to lay bricks well over their centre 
of gravity an artist ? Because we apply the word Artist to a 
person skilled in what we call Fine Art. We call the bricklayer 
a craftsman. And what and how many are the good and bad 
senses of the word Fine? I should think that would be a 
fair subject for an essay for some of your classes, but I want 
to expound it now, briefly and in part, in my own way. Art, 
you see, is doing something by rule, based on natural law, 
better or worse ascertained. In this first or general sense of 
the words, art, technical, and the like, nothing is implied 
beyond a knowledge of methods with scientific bases. You 



A LECTURE. 375 

may be unconscious of this basis, making tea is a chemical 
operation, but may be done without knowledge of the under- 
lying law of infusion. You cannot add up a butcher's bill 
without unconscious reference to the science of mathematics, 
a servant maid cannot sweep the steps without dynamics. 
Now Fine Art is doing or making something fine. By rule or 
not ? I say, on the whole, no ; not without the use of many 
rules : but never solely by rule. What is Fine ? Now I bar 
all the bad and contradictory uses of the word Fine, because 
they are corruptions, and are always changing. To call a man 
a fine gentleman now is contemptuous. But in the notes to 
Old Mortality Sir Walter Scott says William III spoke of 
Claverhouse as a brave officer and fine gentleman fit for any 
employment, as in terms of unlimited praise. Fine means 
refined, subtle, delicate. And I believe it is applied to Art 
in this sense, as a confession that language fails us in de- 
scribing that which is the essence of Fine Art, i.e. Beauty, 
the Undefined. That which is Fine in Art is too subtle 
and delicate for definition. It includes the terms Grand 
and High art, because grandeur and height in art, the con- 
stituents of them I mean, are too subtle and delicate for 
distinction. A work of Fine Art, strictly speaking, is a 
work possessing grandeur, beauty, &c., which cannot be ex- 
plained. Nor can its author explain it. He may tell you 
how he longed for it, worked for it, prayed for it : but he 
cannot tell you how he got it ; it came to him. And here I 
am drawing near higher ground which we cannot traverse just 
now : in fact to questions relating to what men call the in- 
spiration, the gifts or the graces of the mind of man. Let 
it be enough to believe that these good gifts to man's spirit 
come from the Father of spirits and Giver of all good gifts ; 
and that is enough to establish a pretty valid connexion 
between Art and Morality. Practically you will find that 
connexion asserted for you in your future labours, in the most 
everyday and business-like manner ; because on the whole the 
good children will do the best work, and their good morals 
or manners or character will assuredly be shewn by their 
application. And although it is off my direct line of talk, 
I venture to express a slight dread of infant genius, and in 



376 A LECTURE. 

art at least, I would always remember how strictly exceptional 
it is, disbelieve its existence as long as I could, and keep it as 
self-unconscious as possible for the longest possible time. 
That is a reason for beginning drawing early with children, 
that you can insist on elementary work, teach your geniuses 
honesty of labour in the first instance, and save them endless 
disappointment and life-long imperfection by proper ground- 
ing. Or you can find out for others, not, what I never believe, 
that they cannot possibly learn to draw well, but that they 
can do better with other work. For as to any child's being 
really unable to learn to measure distances and get a correct 
outline, I do not think it is so in any case. 

And this reminds me of a rather weary fact for many of us 
that we are now learning art in order to teach its elements, 
not, perhaps to paint pictures ourselves, but to shew young 
people how to get true outlines, light and shade, and, perhaps, 
some of the simpler matters in colour. Well, I don't know 
that we need repine at that ; and, indeed, those who are really 
called to higher artistic work may be trusted to find their way 
to it. Just now the way is rather crowded with students, all 
of them with more or less hope of rising to the stage of 
picture-dealing. As Mr. Holman Hunt said once to me, 
what ever is to become of them all ? And as I said to him, 
I haven't the remotest glimmering of a notion. You are 
privileged now to take up Art as a part of an honest day's 
work, without, perhaps, having any future designs on the 
Royal Academy. It really is better so. Unless you are 
overtasked, you ought to be able to enjoy very elementary 
work, to like it well enough to tell your pupils to like it with 
authority and spirit. Do you ever think of what it means 
Skill wins favour ? Not only from patrons, not only from an 
admiring public, mostly fools, not only from an appreciating 
press, mostly hacks, but the inner pleasure of your own spirit 
at doing a thing well. Do you know that one of the rather 
advanced subjects in Prof. Ruskin's classes at this time is an 
ordinary jam-pot? I saw a drawing of a jam-pot by one of 
his pupils at the Oxford Art-School the other day, which gave 
me acute pleasure ; it was right in form and flat in shade, fine 
in gradation and bright in high light, and its lowest shadow 



A LECTURE. 377 

was still luminous ; and that on white paper. Whoever did 
that jam-pot gave the world assurance of a workman, and his 
work gave pleasure, in no small or mean degree, to every 
workman who looked at it. 

Then, with you and your pupils Art-teaching will still be a 
part of education : it will not be all mixed up with aspiration, 
and passion and heart-break about success, and vanity of vani- 
ties. It will be discipline, the industrious will gain methodi- 
cal industry and find its reward : the flighty and clever will 
stumble and get up again, the rest will be tolerably quiet, at 
least, and cease for awhile from troubling anything but their 
inanimate drawing-boards and paper. In this, as in all the 
other earlier branches of education which you will undertake, 
you will have the woman's privilege, all the higher to-day, 
because so many men seem to let it drop, of teaching the 
right, along with the special study. I do assure you it is a 
higher and better thing to fall into a groove of duty in teaching 
children their duty, even in jam-pots, than to fall into a groove 
of self-repetition in genre-painting, or sham landscape, or 
domestic humbug, or sensational wickedness. 

But as teachers, you will be concerned with the technical 
part of art only, for that only can be taught. And of course 
the more patience the more power. Thoroughness in learning 
all the processes now will be everything to your teaching. 
You can't think how a whole class gets on when they all 
believe in their teacher : you can't think, as they get on, 
how they learn to watch how your hand goes and how the 
touches follow it ; and how much they gain from it. I spoke 
of Mr. Holman Hunt : the most important lesson I ever 
had in oil-painting was observing the extraordinary way 
in which he laid his colour with his thumb and the side of 
the brush, bending the hog-tool double every time, with two 
colours in it and a perfect gradation between them at every 
touch. Pupils can understand the beauty of well-done opera- 
tions whose difficulty they have felt, and the first stage of 
artistic inspiration you can get them into is always the work- 
man's pleasure in skilful manipulation. They must begin with 
simple imitation and doing something like their subject : and 
the ground of their first judgments in art, as well as their 



378 A LECTURE. 

pleasure in art, must be technical. Is it like ? is it well done ? 
They may have in them the capacity of admiration for natural 
beauty, for colour and form alike. I need not say the former is 
likely to be the earlier instinct to appear of the two. But both 
are instincts only in very young people, and they must begin 
with imitation that they may learn the technical conditions of 
beauty. They admire a beautiful object, but can hardly say 
what they admire in it, or analyze it completely enough to 
put down the constituents of its beauty in an imitative way. 

The love of beauty, like other love, is blind at first, in the 
intellectual sense. Full sight is to come after hard work and 
instruction, and the reward of teacher and pupil begins, in a 
quiet way, as soon as the latter has a dim sense of successful 
imitation, of having created a likeness of something else. 
The more the faculties and attention are concentrated on the 
imitation, and the less the pupil thinks about making a pretty 
copy of a pretty thing, the better. Indulgence is almost 
always necessary : but truth is the real object. That is to 
say, I am for allowing the use of colour to children ; let them 
have it as bright as they like, and learn to lay it on flat, one 
coat at a time and joining the edges of two coats of different 
colours. It will henceforth be a matter of some consequence 
in Art-teaching to produce characteristic subjects in bright 
colour, and simple conventional lines of good curve like 
thirteenth and fourteenth century illuminations whereby to 
coax our younger pupils. Let simple and good lines 
be insisted on first and the paints allowed after. Prof. 
Ruskin's examples of single shells and fish are examples for 
all teachers as well as pupils ; and are, for the most part, 
distinguished for their extraordinary force of character and 
colour in combination, and for the interest which they accord- 
ingly awaken in all quick and sensitive children that is to 
say, in the majority of children. I do not say anything 
against a system of preliminary teaching for little ones, that 
is to say, the letting them paint large illuminated letters as 
texts, and the like. But they should be chosen or prepared 
by good teachers, with most careful attention to the curves 
employed ; and the colours should be carefully selected so as 
to teach the best contrasts, and so by degrees the best and 



A LECTURE. 379 

freshest harmonies. If a little boy has painted his cherries 
red, he ought to be made understand that doing some green 
leaves with them will make the red look prettier. 

The Slade Professor's Course of Elementary Painting, with 
progressive illustrations on an ample scale, is now promised 
us, and will not long be delayed, as I trust. The book of 
which this half-completed lecture is a part is republished 
with his consent, certainly without the least notion of 
anticipating his work, and rather in the hope of preparing 
its way. For I have reason to hope that it will least satisfy 
those who make the best use of it, and that both teachers and 
students may get enough from it in a popular way to make 
them wish for more ; that is to say, for more accurate work 
and more subtle results. All which will, I trust, be within 
their reach through the University Press before the present 
edition of Pictorial Art is exhausted. 

Art is all beginnings : and every true student is always going 
back to principles and taking up fresh lines near their com- 
mencement. It will be a subject of the deepest satisfaction 
to all who are interested in the cultivation of the graphic 
powers that Prof. Ruskin should through his Oxford teaching 
and forthcoming works, take up elementary art-education as 
he has done. One can only testify to grown people there is 
plenty of audience and little other result; at least all visible re- 
sult seems to the teacher wrong or mistaken, or mere abuse 
of his teaching ; or in any case, something which he did not 
mean, or did not mean to inculcate. But one can teach young 
people, a certain portion of them in any case, and it is re- 
served for the Professor in a few years, to see the fruits of 
his work in his younger pupils. He may live to see a school 
of English painting, which shall be a school of the soul and 
character as well as of the eye and hand : and a school of 
English criticism, founded on popularized skill in true tech- 
nics, early educated in true principles, and directed by con- 
science and honour. 

To master the elementary schools of Art for the middle 
and upper classes of this country, is to direct the taste of a 
coming generation ; and to direct the taste of the picture- 
buying classes in a commercial country, is, at present, to 



380 A LECTURE. 

be the dictator of the whole army of art-workers. There 
is only one man who ever could occupy such a position in 
this country for an hour, and he seems not unlikely to take 
possession of it : strangely yet naturally ; in a way simple yet 
unforeseen ; with little pleasure or immediate advantage to 
himself, yet undoubtedly to the benefit of ourselves and 
our children, and to his own assured reward. 

FINIS. 



INDEX. 



ACCURACY, importance of, p. 2, 3. 

Admiration, a valuable faculty, 7. 

.ffischylus, heraldry of, 56. 

Alphabet, Hebrew, 43. 

Amateur work, &c., 2, 12; value of, 5; 
course of, 127-145 ; expectations of be- 
ginners, 165, 166, 385 ; adults bad pu- 
pils, 127; exercises for ch. i. part ii. ; 
amateur and workman, 129, 273, 
296; indulgence to, 136, 210, 295; 
authorship, 381. 

Anatomy, C-iotto's, 22; study of, 69, 70, 
247 ; Dr. Fau's Manual, 348 ; of 
foliage, 227 ; of bones and muscles, 
228 j connection with perspective, 
241. 

Angelico, 81-99, 105-107 sqq. ; compared 
with Orcagna, Ghirlandajo, and Masac- 
cio, 95; with Mabillon, 84, 92. 

Antique proportions, 232, 237, 238. 

A putrido, 323. 

Architectural carvings, 13. 

Arena Chapel. See Giotto. 

Armitage, evidence of, 24, 28, 37, 151, 212. 

Art, part of liberal education, i ; value of 
amateur art, 5, 6, 13, 16 ; definition of, 
1 6, 31 ; advertising, 27. 

Art-schools, 3 ; teaching sufficient for 
artist-workmen, 60, 127, 153. 

Arundel Society's publications, 71. See 
Giotto. 

Asceticism, 86 sqq. 

Assisi. See Giotto. 

Association of ideas, 362. 

Assyrian compounded forms, 31, 53. 

Attila, 37. 

Bacon, Lord, 5. 

Background, 307 ; tints for, 316. 

Balance, 373, 373. 

Bastard, M. le Comte, work by, 50. 

Beauty, gradual introduction to, 162, 163. 

Beauty, &c., terms used by analogy of, 
31 ; definition of, 208. 

Bellini, John, pictures of, in the National 
Gallery, 124, 125. 

Bell, Sir Charles, on Expression, 72. 

Benozzo Gozzoli, at Pisa, 38, 108, in. 

Berry, Miss, n. 

Blake, 10, 20, 70, 92. 

Blocking out, 223, 355 sqq. 

Body-colour, definition of, 178, 200, 221, 
229, 241 sqq. See Opaque. 

Bondone. See Giotto. 

Bones, 353 sqq. 

Bonomi's proportions of human figure, 

34.8- 

Botticelli, Sandro, 82. 
Breadth, 268 ; as ' bringing together,' 194. 



Breadths of human figure, 365. 
Bringing together, or massing, 194. 
Brook Taylor, Dr., on Perspective, 321. 
Browning's poems, 9, 21, 69, 102. 
Brushes, .use of, as compared with chalk 

and hard-point, 154, 158; red sable for 

water-colour, 144; mixing water-colour 

in, 190. 

Burne Jones, 175. 
Burnet, Essays on Fine Arts, 313. 
Business view of Art in Middle Ages, 85. 
Byzantine Art, 32, 36, 48, 50. 
Campo Santo at Pisa, 37, 84, ; Giotto's 

landscape in, 78, 

Canvas, priming or preparing, 237. 
Caricature, 255. 

Casts, drawing from, ch. ii. part ii., 165. 
Catacombs, 24, 33 sqq. 
Chalk, used to follow charcoal lines, 166 

sqq. ; shading in, 155. 
Charcoal, use of in France, 155 ; material 

for most first-sketches, 169. 
Cherub, connected with Veronese griffins, 

53- 

Christian Art, 24, 30 sqq. ; increasingly 
ascetic, 35 ; in Angelico, 83 sqq. 

Church paintings not idolatrous, 58 ; how 
made so, 25, 59. 

Churches S. Ambrogio, Milan, 30, 38, 
51; Torcello, 36; Murano, 58, 59; 
Madonna dell Orto, S. George of the 
Seaweed, 108 sqq.; Venice, 47; Sistine 
Chapel, 41, 103, 308 ; San Fermo, and 
San Zenone, Verona, 53, 60 ; Duomo, 
54; Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 64, 
114 ; Arena Chapel, see Giotto; Car- 
mine, loo, 104, 134; Assisi, see Giotto. 

Cimabue, 26, 216. 

Claude, 61, 63, 268. 

Colour, heraldic, 57 ; use of, 156, 164 ; 
transparent and opaque, 178 sqq. ; 
necessarily conventional, 196 ; for 
mixed tints in water and oil, 177 sqq., 
189; tree drawing, 240 sqq.; French, 248. 

Composition and conception, 200 ; in 
Giotto, 68 ; chapter on, 257 ; turns on 
interest and leading features, 260 ; prin- 
ciples, 267. 

Constructive drawings, 320. 

Contrast and Harmony, see Composition, 
257 sqq. 

Conventionalism in landscape, 10. 

Copies and copying, 4, 21, 22, 170 sqq. ; 
parts of pictures and incomplete work, 
123, 124; choice of masters, 123, 124- 
not servile, 1 25 ; from statue, skeleton 
227; not same as imitation and impor- 
tance of, 221-227. 



382 



INDEX. 



Cox, David, 135, 197, 280 sqq. 

Criticism, 122. 

Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 63, 68, 73> 99^ 
103, 114, 179. 

Curves, 146 sqq. ; as means of composi- 
tion, 264 sqq. ; mathematical, 265 ; 
wing-curves. 265 sqq. ; parabola and hy- 
perbola, 265. 

Cuyp, 262. 

Dante, 67, 71, 75, 77, 83 ; with Gothic 
features, 80, note ; severity, 85. 

Darwin, 72. 

David and Ingres, 117. 

Death represented by Giotto, 69, 80 ; by 
Orcagna, 88. 

Definitions of Art, 16 ; of Beauty, 31, 208. 

Delaroche, 24. 

De Rossi, 33. 

Details and accidents, 203. 

Devils of Orcagna, 88. 

Didron, Manuel d'Iconographie, 64. 

Distances in drawing the figure, 234. 

Distemper, see Tempera, ch. ix. part ii. p. 
3ii- 

Donatello and Masaccio, 107 ; S. George, 

"5- 

Diirer, 12 ; copying from, 135 sqq. 

Education, 3, 16, 24-27, 99, 122. 

Egyptian Art, 32,43. 

Encaustic, 313. 

Engraving (mezzotint), 305. 

Etching, 305. 

Eve and the Serpent, 51. 

Expression, receipts for, 72. 

Fairies, gift of seeing, 14. 

Fau's Anatomy, 348. 

Figure-drawing, 161 ; Giotto's, 68 ; Ma- 
saccio's, 101, 106. 

French landscape, 246-249. 

Finish, 202; added fact, 211 sqq.: con- 
nected with composition, 212 ; Tin- 
toret's haste, 213 ; Millais, Hunt, 
Collins, Titian, 213, 214-216; grapes 
as examples, 218. 

Florence, &c. See Giotto, Orcagna, An- 
gelico, Masaccio, Ghirlandajo ; con- 
tains whole progress of Art, 101, 123; 
photography, 101. 

Foreground, water-colour, 193-195 ; oil, 
242 sqq.; sketching, 285, 294. 

Form distinguished from Line, 129, 161, 
164. 

Francia, 37, 63, 64, 125. 

Francis, S., at Assisi, 66, 

Fresco, evidence on, 23, 24 ; historical, 
25 ; Orcagna's at Pisa, 49 ; Michael 
Angelo on, 60, 308 ; process, 308 ; 
Rafael's, 308 ; wet and dry, 309 ; stip- 
pling in, 310 ; letter on, by Mr. 
Stanhope, 314. 

Frontispiece, first stage, 187 ; second, 
191 ; third, 193. 

George and Edwards's Alpine photo- 
graphs, 139. 

Gesso, 312. 



Ghiberti, 61, 107. 

Ghirlandajo, compared with Giotto, An- 
gelico, &c , 108, 109; also photographs 
from, 100, 105, in, sqq. 

Giorgione, 2, 124, 125. 

Giotto, 53, 62 sqq. ; views on poverty, 
66, 1 20, 193 ; composition, 68; faces, 
71 sqq. ; never at Avignon, 74 ; Arena 
Chapel, 74 sqq ; symbolisms and real- 
isms in, 75 ; landscape, 78 ; Campa- 
nile, &c, ibid. ; ' workman," 206, 209 ; 
picture, in oil, 311 ; cf. 74, 206, 207. 

Glacier, 137, 265 ; first understood by 
Turner, 266. 

Glazing, 236, 241. 

Goethe, n, 32. 

Goodall, 292. 

Gothic and Northern Art, 32, 35 ; dis- 
tinguished from Byzantine, 49 sqq. ; at 
Verona, 60 ; humour of, 67 ; love of 
nature in common with ancient Greek, 
32, note. 

Greek Art, Phidias, 32. 

Griffin, Veronese, 53 sqq. 

Grotesques, symbolic, 38 sqq. ; 49 sqq. 

Gullick and Timbs on fresco, tempera, 
&c., ch. ix. 308. 

Gustave Dore, difference in character of 
his horrors from Dante's or Orcagna's, 
89. 

Goodwin's works, 135, note. 

Hamerton, 105, 273, 291, 305. 

Harding, 22, 197 ; see ch. on Landscape 
sketching. 

Harmony and Contrast, see Composition, 
267 sqq. 

Hayman, Rev. Dr. H., on Cherub-forms, 

53- 

Heads, measurement by, 363. 
Heraldry, 55 ; none in Homer, ibid. ; 

knightly and canting, 56, 57; connection 

with history of Art, ibid. 
Herbert, 26, 96. 
Historical fresco unconnected with image 

worship, 58. 
History taught by public fresco, 24 sqq. ; 

that of Art consists of biographies, 30. 
Holbein, photographs from, by Mr. 

Dowdeswell, 157. 
Humour, Gothic, 52, 67. 
Hunt, A., 138, 288, 294. 
Hunt, Holman, 26, 96, 126, 217, 294, 

376,' 377- 

Hunt, William, 200, 219, 288, 310. 
Idolatry in Art-representations, 24, 59. 
Imitation and observation, 2 1 . 
Interpenetration, principle of, 269 ; cf. 

57- 

Intonaco, 309. 

Knight in Holbein's Dance of Death, 87. 

Last Judgment, Torcello, 36, 86 ; Or- 
cagna's, 87 ; Michael Angelo's, 46 ; 
Tintoret's, 47. 

Lear, specially attends to the landscape 
of the East, 294. 



INDEX. 



383 



Lecky, 35, 52. 

Leech's woodcuts, 130, 255, 356. 

Legros, M., 246, 249. 

Leonardo da Vinci, 100, 118, 119, 125, 

173, 205, 210. 
Letters, hieroglyphic and phonetic, 43, 

4 S.- 
Lewis's works, 126, 175, 200, 210, 231. 
'Liber Studiorum,' 108, 131 ; photo- 
graphs by Mr. Hogarth, 1 76 ; Auto- 
type Co., ibid, note; lists from, 228, 260 ; 
Rizpah and Mer de Glace, ibid. ; Fron- 
tispiece, 266, 270 ; Source of Arveiron, 
303 ; Cephalus and Procris, 304. 
Light-and-shade drawing, 141 sqq. ; 166 
sqq. ; processes 166 ; Paul Veronese's 
and Turner's system of, 172 ; Rem- 
brandt's./'^. ; Leonardo's, ibid. ; grada- 
tion in, 169, 174. 
Lindsay, Sir Coutts, evidence, 23. 
Line distinguished from Form, 129, 161, 

164. 

Lombards, 35, 51, 54, 60,65, 99- 
Lothian, Marquis of, the late, ' Italian 

History and Art,' 33, 37. 
Mabillon compared with Fra Angelico, 

84, 92. 

Macarius, S., 85, 1 10. 
Mail superior in forms to plate armour, 57. 
'Making out,' 194, 195, 214. 
Masaccio, 100, 109, 165, 179 sqq., 258. 
Measurements and distances, 355 ; by 
waists, 355 ; by heads, 363 ; by faces, 
364; use of pencil for, 355. 
Mechanical, term how used, 207, 208 ; 

drawings of, on Perspective, 320. 
Media, 236, white and turpentine megilp, 
239 ; best none at all, 249 ; see Tem- 
pera. 

Medici, 102-104, 115. 
Memory, importance of, 198, 227-229; re- 
freshment of, 242. 
Merde Glace, Turner's, 136, 268. 
Mezzotint, 305. 

Michael Angelo, 87, 100, 101, 108, 112, 
113, 200, 213, 214, 315 ; compared with 
Angelico, 99 ; with Ghirlandajo, in 
sqq., 117, 151 sqq., 157, 159; drawings 
in Oxford, 174; fresco, 308. 
Millais, 96, 126, 198, 212 sqq. 
Monotony of English life, 13, 28. 
Mountain colours, 187-195 ; drawing by 

Masaccio, 106. 

MS., illustrations from, by CountBastard, 
48, 49 ; connected with heraldic orna- 
ment, 57. 
Mulready, 283. 
Murano, 37. 
Muscles, 346, 352 sqq. 
Myths, Pagan, used in catacombs, 34 ; 
Penelope, Deucalion, Jason, Hesione, 
Andromeda, 34. 
Natural power, taste, &c., 2 1 . 
. Naturalism, Gothic, 48 sqq. ; see Realism. 
Nature interpreted by Art, 6-15; draw- 



ing from, 134 ; multiplicity of, 191,192 ; 
in Turner's works, 223 sqq. ; sketching 
from, ch. vii., Trees. 
Nicolo Pisano, 51, 61, 78. 
Norway, 294. 
O of Giotto, Florentine proverb, 206, 

209. 

Observation, 21 ; habits of, 134, 135, 
Oil-painting, ch. v., part ii. ; Michael An- 
gelo on, 200, 232 sqq.; portrait, 250; 
fresco, 308. 
Opaque and transparent colour, 1 78, 1 79, 

223, 228, 328, 329. 

Orcagna (Arcagnuoli), 37, 81 ; Triumph 
of Death, 86, 87, in sqq. ; severity 
compared with Dante, 88-91. 
Origin of Modern Art, (i) Christian in 
catacombs, (2) Gothic or Northern in 
Lombard churches, 32-41. 
Oxford Galleries, 113, 158, 222, 227. 
Paolo Uccello, 25, 100, 106, 120. 
Paolo Veronese, 124, 125, 172. 
Pencil, measuring by, 355. 
Perspective, aerial and linear, 266-268 ; 
Masaccio's 106 ; Paolo Uccello's, 137 ; 
negative but indispensable guide 369 ; 
connected with anatomy 166 ; of leaves 
and bushes, 166, 167, 343. 
Perspective, chapter on, 315 ; part of 
optics, 316 ; apparent lengths depend 
on angular distance, ibid. ; parallel 
lines in space apparently radiating 
from centre, ibid. ; definition of picture 
or perspective delineation, 319 ; pro- 
jection, 320 ; mechanical and construc- 
tive drawing, ibid. ; definition of per- 
spective, ibid. ; limits of its power, 321 ; 
perspective drawing of a plane (figs 
3 and 4), 322, 324; rules, sqq.; find- 
ing vanishing points, 327 ; perspective 
of cube, 328 ; of curves, 333 ; of 
spheres, 334; actual perspective from 
nature, 335 ; directions, 337 ; lateral 
direction of picture plane, 337; draw- 
ing a block, 338 ; cylinder, 339 ; an 
open box, 341 ; value of knowledge 
of perspective in drawing from nature, 
343 ; and note ; perspective drawing 
of Iffley Mill, with analysis, 344, 345. 
Perugino, 37, 85. 
Phidias, 31. 

Photographs, Florentine, by Philpot, &c., 
112; use of in landscape, 141, 277 sqq. ; 
to secure character, 141 ; Dowdeswell's, 
from Holbein, 157 ; Hatton's trees, 
171 ; Messrs, George and Edwards's 
139 ; Eastern, 287. 
Pigments. See Colour. 
Pisa, 37 ; see Orcagna, 108. 
Plumb-line, 355. 
Portrait, beginning a, 250. 
Proportions, antique, 365, 366. 
Prout, 197, 270, 282. 
R. A. Commission, 23. 
Rafael, 2, 37,40, 108, 125, 126; drawings 



3*4 



INDEX. 



in Oxford, 125, 174 ; drawing from, 

227; reputation, 309. 
Raoul Rochette, 33. 
Realism in Art, 21 ; Gothic, 39. 
Reflections, 283, 295. 
Religious Art, symbolical, realist and 

emotional, 34, 48 sqq. 
Rembrandt's system of colour, 172, 197, 

258. 
Renaissance, Byzantine, 36, 38, 79 ; late, 

228. 

Repetition, use of, 267 sqq. 
Reverie not idleness, 260. 
Reynolds, Sir J., 202 sqq. ; use of tempera, 

3I3- 

Richardson, T. M., 4, 135. 

Roman Catholic Art, 24. 

' Romola,' 68 note, 71, 120. 

Rosenberg, 294. 

Rumohr, Von, 66. 

Ruskin, 9, 17, 26, 35, 87, 94, 96, 107, 
124, 171, 264 sqq.; Stones of Venice, 
37, 60 ; Two Paths, illustrated, 50 ; on 
Velasquez, 128 ; exercises, 131 ; on 
Pre-Rafaelitism, Millais and Turner, 
198 ; gift to University of Oxford, 290 ; 
Definition of Composition, 258 ; beauty 
of curvature, 264 ; on trees, 299 sqq. 

Saussure, De, 267. 

Savonarola, 71, 85, no. 

Scumbling and glazing, 236, 254. 

Seddon, 292. 

Shadow, projected and natural, 173. 

Signs, representative or vicarious, 43. 

Sinai, Mount, Herbert's, 34; Claude's, 
26 ; Lewis and Goodall, 292 ; descrip- 
tion of, and difficulties of sketching, 
292, 293. 

Sitter, how to place, 257. 

Skeleton. See Bones. 

Sketching, 155 ; preparation for, in 
water-colour, 191 ; on grey paper, 
222 sqq..; Turner's, ibid. 271 sqq. ; 
choice of subject in, ibid ; Swiss, 
285-287; in Desert of Sinai, 292; 
Norwegian, 292, 294; Lake country 
good for beginners, 231, 234. 

Skies, gradated flat, 144, 189. 

Spencer-Stanhope, 175 ; letter from, 314. 

Stanfield, 9. 

Statues, dissections of, 352 sqq. 

Stippling in pen a d ink, 131 ; chalk, 
1 68 ; mends anything, 218 ; in fresco, 
310. 

Straight lines, importance of, 146 ; curves 
and, 148, &c. 

Studies distinguished from sketches, 271. 

Style dependent on knowledge and pur- 
pose, i, 2, 3. 

Subjects, choice of, 281, 284. 

Symbol, definition of, 43 ; distinguished 
from hieroglyphics, 44 ; Christian, 



47; Teutonic, 48; Oriental, 52, 53; 
and heraldic, 75; Giotto's 75, 76. 

Symmetry, 267. 

Tame, M. 101, 228. 

Tempera, distinguished from fresco, 308 
sqq. ; media used in, 31 1 ; used as ground 
for oil-colour by Venetians, &c., 313. 

Tennyson, 29, 42. 

Texture of paper, 183 ; in oil-colour, 
236, 245. 

Tintoret, 25, 47, 117, 123, 214, 217, 226. 

Titian, i ; colours, 24 ; works in National 
Gallery, 124, 125 ; finish of, 205, 206 ; 
at Denmark Hill, 204 ; tree drawing, 
300. 

Torcello, 36, 49, 64. 

Transferring outlines, 127, 212, 214, 270. 

Trees, 297-307. 

Turner, J. M. W., 9, 119, 126, 127 ; and 
see ' Liber Studiorum ' ; method of 
study, 158, 162, system of light-and- 
shade that of Veronese, &c., 172 ; 
Goldau and S. Gothard, 175, 176; 
compared with Millais, 198 ; did not 
copy but imitate, 222 sqq.; on grey 
paper, 223-225, 241 ; to be verified 
by observation of Nature, ibid. ; use of 
body-colour, ibid.; on impression, 272 
sqq. ; sketches, 285 ; etchings, 305 ; 
Cephalus and Procris, 304-306; stip- 
ple, 310. 

Turner, W., of Oxford, method of gra- 
dating skies, 144, 183, 233. 

Unity and harmony, 264. 

University Galleries, Oxford, 158,222,227. 

Vacher, 292. 

Van Eyck, 311. 

Vasari, 30, 93, 103. 

Velasquez, 125, 202, 204. 

Venice, 36 ; see Tintoret. 

Verrochio, 106. 

Verona, 31, 38, 53. 

Veronese, Paolo, 124, 125, 172 sqq. 

Washing, 182, 183 ; not to disguise bad 
drawing, 184. 

Water-colours, theory of 181 ; scale for 
use of, 177, 187 sqq. ; frontispiece in, 
180, 193, 195. 

Water-paintings, reflections in, 283-295. 

Watts, evidence of, 23 ; on fresco, 27, 28, 

120. 

Werner, 292. 

Wings of Birds, 265. 

Word-painting, 27. 

Wordsworth, 20, 21. 

Working-classes, Art for, 13-15, 28 ; as 

amateurs, 278. 
' Workman' and ' workmanlike,' 206,274 ; 

workman and amateur, 136, 273, 274. 
Wornum's 'Epochs of Painting,' 62. 
Writing, hieroglyphic and phonetic, 43 

sqq-, 133- 



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